About 500 kids dead from hunger in Sudan


Women and children flee Sudan war

from RAJI BASHIR in Khartoum, Sudan
Sudan Bureau
KHARTOUM, (CAJ News) – AT least 498 children, and likely scores more, have died from hunger since the outbreak of the civil war in Sudan.

Save the Children has documented the deaths since the civil conflict broke out in the capital, Khartoum, in April and the ethnic clashes intensified in the Darfur region.

The fights have spread to other parts of the country.

In White Nile state, at least 316 children, mostly under five, died from malnutrition or associated illnesses between May and July. Save the Children reports that over 2 400 cases of children with severe acute malnutrition – the deadliest form of malnutrition – were admitted to nutrition facilities since the beginning of the year.

In the Gedaref state in eastern Sudan, at least 132 children died from malnutrition between April and July, with 36 percent of all cases of children admitted to one state hospital with the condition dying from it or related illnesses.

In Khartoum, at least 50 children, including at least two dozen babies, died of starvation or related illnesses in a state orphanage after fighting prevented staff from accessing the building to care for them.

Since the violence broke out in April, Save the Children said it had been forced to close 57 of its nutrition facilities, with 31 000 children missing out on treatment for malnutrition and related illnesses across the country.

In the 108 facilities the agency still operates, therapeutic food stocks are running critically low, with buffer stock, or emergency supplies, now being used in the most extreme cases.

Dozens of warehouses storing food for the World Food Programme (WFP) and other aid organisations have been raided since the start of the conflict.

In May, WFP reported that at least US$14 million of food supplies had been looted.

Dozens of WFP trucks are also being delayed at border points, further worsening the crisis. A therapeutic food factory supplying WFP and Save the Children was burnt to the ground in May.

“Never did we think we would see children dying from hunger in such numbers, but this is now the reality in Sudan,” said Dr Arif Noor, Save the Children’s Director in Sudan.

The official said the looting of United Nations (UN) warehouses, the burning of the therapeutic food factory, and the lack of funding have put significant strain on supplies of therapeutic nutritional products across the country.

“Our pleas seem to be falling on deaf ears,” Noor said.

The funding appeals for Sudan remain only 27 percent funded.

– CAJ News

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