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Jun 25, 2024, 8:26am EDT
Africa
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Semafor Signals

UNICEF chief warns four million children face malnutrition in Sudan due to war

Insights from the BBC, The New Arab, Reuters, and ReliefWeb

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People hold pots as volunteers distribute food in Omdurman, Sudan.
Reuters/File photo
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The News

Nearly four million children in Sudan face acute malnutrition as a result of the ongoing conflict between the army and the Rapid Support Forces paramilitary, the head of the United Nations children’s agency warned.

Catherine Russell told the BBC that as many as nine million children in Sudan don’t get enough to eat, and that it may already be too late to save some of them. The war, which began in April 2023, has restricted organizations’ capabilities to deliver vital aid.

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SIGNALS

Semafor Signals: Global insights on today's biggest stories.

Ongoing conflict limits aid deliveries

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Sources:  
The New Arab, BBC

Both warring sides are blocking humanitarian aid from reaching people in need, creating obstacles like bureaucratic hurdles, limits to entry points, lack of security guarantees, attacks on humanitarian workers, looting, and telecommunications outages, The New Arab wrote. Russell told the BBC that while she couldn’t confirm hunger was being used as a weapon of war, it was a “100% man made” crisis, while the head of a UN fact-finding Mission for Sudan said last week that it was hard to see the situation improving “without an immediate ceasefire.”

Parts of Sudan are likely already in famine despite lack of official declaration

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Sources:  
Reuters, International Rescue Committee, The New Arab

A famine has not been officially declared in Sudan, but a US special envoy to the country told Reuters that some parts have already reached that stage. Because both the army and paramiltary are blocking access to data collection, famine may never be formally declared, the International Rescue Committee noted. Even if it were, a senior researcher at a Dutch think tank told The New Arab that a formal determination often comes when the situation on the ground has already reached the point of catastrophe. “By that time, any food aid will come too late to rescue anyone in this category,” she said.

Humanitarian crisis extends beyond country’s border

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Sources:  
ReliefWeb, UNHCR, National Centre for Social Research

The consequences of the Sudan conflict are also being felt in neighboring countries, a report from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs noted, with border nations like Chad, Egypt, Ethiopia, and South Sudan becoming destinations for refugees. Almost 600,000 people have fled from Sudan to Chad since early 2023, according to the UNHCR, contributing to a humanitarian crisis in the country. In Egypt, the arrival of refugees adds new pressure to an already struggling economy, the National Centre for Social Research wrote.





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