Conflict, chaos, and neglect prove lethal for Sudan's children - UNICEF Geneva Palais briefing note on the situation for children in Sudan
This is a summary of what was said by UNICEF Spokesperson James Elder - to whom quoted text may be attributed - at today's press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva
30 May 2023
GENEVA, 30 May 2023 -- "On the back of conflict, chaos and neglect, more children in Sudan today require lifesaving support than ever before. A staggering - a sobering - 13.6 million children urgently require assistance. That's more than the entire population of Sweden or Rwanda or Portugal. All children. And the number is growing.
"As Sudan slips into the shadows, life for children drifts ever closer towards an abyss. Just six weeks into ferocious fighting, five million more Sudanese children require support than pre-conflict. As hospitals are looted, schools are shelled, and a nutrition factory goes up in flames, hope is turning to ashes.
"According to reports UNICEF has received, hundreds of girls and boys have been killed. And while we are unable to confirm estimates due to the intensity of the violence, these reports state thousands more have been injured. It is important to note that these reports of children killed or injured are only those who had contact with a medical facility. And thus, the reality is no doubt much worse, and gravely compounded as children confront perilous hurdles in accessing life-saving services in Sudan. Nutrition services, safe water, and healthcare have all been turned upside down.
"All these factors combined risk becoming a death sentence, especially for the most vulnerable. I apologize for the starkness of my words, but time is a luxury children in Sudan do not have, and delicate language serves only to betray their desperate reality.
"It is also important to state unequivocally that the most effective means of securing the safety and well-being of these children lies with those who bear the legal obligation to safeguard them. UNICEF once again calls on all parties to protect the children of Sudan, and to spare infrastructure on which children depend - such as health facilities, water and sanitation systems.
"In response to the escalating crisis, humanitarian appeals have been made to address the pressing needs of Sudanese children. UNICEF has just launched its new Humanitarian Action for Children for Sudan and is calling for US$838 million to address the crisis, an increase of US$253 million since the current conflict began in April.
"Despite challenges with humanitarian access and security, UNICEF and partners have succeeded in substantial amounts of support. To highlight just three: *Delivering 2300 MT in trucks loaded with health, nutrition, water and sanitation, and learning/child protection supplies to the displaced population in Madani and to states across the country.
*UNICEF has maintained immunization services across 12 states by securing vaccine supplies and distribution, as well as securing and monitoring the cold chain system. *UNICEF has maintained 80 per cent of the malnutrition treatment centres (OTPs) across Sudan for children with severe wasting.
"These programmes save lives. But they also require financial support.
"Children in Sudan need a comprehensive and lasting peace. As they wait for that, and with funding, UNICEF's support will grow."
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