Revisiting the South Sudan Quagmire

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The crisis in Sudan has exacted an immense toll on children, disrupting their lives and displacing millions within the country and across borders. As the conflict persists, the plight of children remains the most profound consequence, with over 14 million children among the 24.7 million people in urgent need of humanitarian aid.

This crisis in Sudan now stands as the world’s largest child displacement emergency, witnessing three million children fleeing pervasive violence in search of safety and essential resources like food, shelter, and healthcare. The majority of these displaced children remain within Sudan’s borders, while hundreds of thousands seek refuge in makeshift camps in neighbouring nations.

For over 200 days, children have endured uncertainty, trauma, and violence, turning the situation in Sudan into a grave crisis that significantly jeopardises the nation’s future and casts a heavy shadow over the wider region.

Even before this crisis, Sudan faced dire circumstances concerning its children. Malnutrition rates were alarmingly high, affecting over three million children, with more than 610,000 experiencing severe acute malnutrition. The lack of timely treatment threatened the lives of many children, and this number was expected to rise. Recurrent disease outbreaks, such as measles and malaria, continued to afflict vast numbers of children, exacerbated by a sharp decline in routine immunisations, leaving one in six children completely vulnerable.

Moreover, the country grappled with urgent water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) requirements, affecting 11 million people and further exposing children to diseases like diarrhoea and cholera due to inadequate access to safe water and sanitation facilities.

Education suffered immensely, with nearly seven million school-age children out of school, among whom one in three girls and one in four boys remained deprived. Those fortunate enough to attend school faced challenges, including insufficient learning spaces, a lack of supplies, teachers, and support systems, particularly for disabled children. Shockingly, seven out of ten children in school struggled to read and comprehend a basic sentence.

Sudan finds itself embroiled in a humanitarian crisis of catastrophic proportions, a situation that is forecast to worsen if the conflict persists. This prolonged fighting pushes the already vulnerable population into greater desperation, putting millions of children’s lives at risk every day.

As each day passes with ongoing hostilities, the suffering deepens for Sudan’s children, especially the most vulnerable among them.

The United Nations, including UNICEF and its partners, has been actively engaged in providing support amidst this crisis. Ten-year-old Majd’s poignant statement, “No bullets. One rose for each child,” during a psychosocial session organised by UNICEF and its partners, resonates as a powerful testament to the resilience and hope carried by Sudan’s children amidst the turmoil.

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