James Elder, the spokesperson for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), has painted a bleak picture of the future for 24 million children in Sudan due to the ongoing repercussions of the war that has persisted for over five months.
Elder, in response to questions from Sky News Arabic via email, stated that there has been a significant increase in child mortality due to armed conflicts and malnutrition. He also highlighted the grave risks facing over 19 million children due to the closure of educational institutions and the inability to attend schools.
According to the UNICEF spokesperson, the harsh neglect of civilians and continuous attacks on healthcare services in Sudan are endangering the lives of thousands of newborns over the next three months.
“333,000 children will be born in Sudan between October and December, and they and their mothers will need skilled care at birth, something that is becoming increasingly unlikely due to millions being besieged in conflict areas or forced to flee amid a severe shortage of medical supplies,” the UNICEF spokesperson added.
Given the current security conditions in Sudan resulting from the war, many pregnant women face extreme difficulty in accessing hospitals, sometimes leading to death or serious complications for both mothers and newborns.
In this context, Huda Mohammed Al-Hassan, a consultant in women’s health and obstetrics for Sky News Arabic, points out that the lack of healthcare and the difficulty of accessing hospitals pose significant risks to pregnant women.
UNICEF also warned of the destruction that has befallen nutrition and primary healthcare services at a time when over 55,000 children require treatment for severe malnutrition, with 98% of nutrition centers in Khartoum, the capital, and 90% in Darfur in western Sudan ceasing operations.
One of the major risks affecting child rescue operations in Sudan is the non-payment of salaries for frontline workers, including teachers, doctors, and nurses, for months in a country experiencing a 200% inflation rate.
UNICEF has expressed deep concern about the non-opening of schools in Sudan, which is already facing one of the largest education crises globally, with over 12 million children waiting for schools to reopen and 7 million unable to attend school at all.
435 children have been killed during the current clashes in the capital, Khartoum, and the Darfur region.
There is a 75% shortfall in the required funding to cover the necessary needs of reaching nearly 10 million children, amounting to approximately $838 million.
12 million children are awaiting the reopening of closed schools due to the ongoing war since mid-April in Khartoum and several other regions of the country.