Over 14 million children crave humanitarian aid-UNICEF

Over 14 million children crave humanitarian aid-UNICEF
Mothers and children gather at an IDP camp in South Sudan. UNICEF predicts heightened level of malnutrition in South Sudan mid this year. [File Photo]

The United Nations said an estimated 24 million people, among them 14 million children in Sudan, are in need of humanitarian assistance as a result of the conflict.

The grim statistics were revealed by Ted Chaiban, UNICEF’s Deputy Executive Director for Humanitarian Action, and Edem Wosornu of the UN humanitarian office, who briefed the journalists upon their visit to Sudan and Chad on Friday.

“Fighting between the Sudanese Army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) recently passed the 100-day mark. Overall, 24 million people across the country require aid,” a report published on the UN website read in part.

Mr. Chaiban said nearly 14 million children desperately need humanitarian relief, a number that is equivalent to all the boys and girls in Colombia, France, Germany, or Thailand. 

He also said some 1.7 million people have been driven from their homes, in addition to the nearly two million others who were already displaced before the crisis.

According to Chaiban, the Jeddah Peace Initiative in Saudi Arabia will bring a solution to the protracted conflict.

“I saw the total of the atrocities committed against children and women during the darkest days of the Darfur conflict 18 years ago. Both Edem and I were there. And I think we’re deeply concerned that we could be looking at a repetition of these terrible days,” he warned.

The report added that an unspecified number of children had been killed, injured, abducted, and recruited by the warring forces, therefore, falling victim to ethnic and gender-based violence.

In May, Micah Yakani, Save the Children’s South Sudan Child and Youth Protection Coordinator said the war in Sudan had caused trauma to children and needed psychosocial support.

Yakani said the children were stressed and in fear, adding that food shortages might lead to hunger and malnutrition.

“Hundreds of children fleeing the violence in Sudan are arriving in South Sudan, and sisterly bordering countries are in urgent need of mental health and psychological intervention,” Yakani said. 

“Children are much stressed; this is seen through unusual behaviour such as fighting each other while others are withdrawn and stay alone. Adolescent children are also manifesting violent behaviours such as anger, desperation, and talking aggressively,” he explained.

The organisation also said thousands of children might contract cholera at the borders of Sudan as a result of flooding among other issues.

According to Muzamil Sebi, Save the Children’s director of advocacy, cases of cholera had already been reported in Malakal at a site where refugees and returnees from Sudan had been resettled.

“Two weeks ago, children were exposed to the dangerous scorching sun as temperatures reached 45 degrees Celsius in Renk, but in the coming weeks, people will be at risk of pneumonia and cholera due to the rains,” said Muzamil Sebi, Save the Children’s director of advocacy.