United Nations (U.N.) agencies have reported the devastating loss of more than 1,200 young lives in Sudan’s refugee camps, succumbing to suspected measles and malnutrition.
Over 1,200 Sudanese refugees under the age of five have died in nine camps between May 15 and September 14, with most deaths linked to suspected measles and underlying malnutrition. These statistics come amidst an ominous warning that thousands more, including vulnerable newborns, teeter on the brink of peril as we approach the year’s end.
Over 5.3 million people have been newly displaced by the ongoing conflict, including over one million forced to flee to neighboring countries.
Speaking at a U.N. briefing in Geneva, Dr. Allen Maina, the chief of public health at the U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR), conveyed the tragic reality that over 1,200 children under the age of five have perished in the White Nile state since May. Dr. Maina’s sombre statement was underscored by his grim forecast: “Regrettably, we anticipate that these numbers will continue to rise.”
The conflict in Sudan, which has entered its fifth month, has overwhelmed health facilities in the nation due to shortages of staff, lifesaving medicine and critical equipment.
UNICEF, the U.N. children’s agency, expressed grave concern for the “many thousands of newborns” among the 333,000 infants expected to be born before the year’s end. These infants, along with their mothers, are in dire need of skilled delivery care.
However, in a nation where millions find themselves trapped in war-torn regions or displaced and where critical medical supplies are in scarce supply, such crucial care is rapidly slipping beyond reach. James Elder, spokesperson for UNICEF, delivered this sobering message during the same briefing.
To compound the crisis, Sudan faces a relentless battle against severe malnutrition, with approximately 55,000 children requiring treatment each month. Shockingly, only a fraction of nutrition centers are operational, with less than one in 50 serving the capital city, Khartoum, and just one in ten functional in West Darfur.
The stark reality of this humanitarian catastrophe demands immediate global attention and intervention, as countless lives hang in the balance amidst the unforgiving backdrop of Sudan’s ongoing conflict and healthcare crisis.