Children continue to bear the brunt of multiple emergencies in Sudan

UNICEF urgently requires US$22 million to provide lifesaving response for over 100,000 children

KHARTOUM/SYDNEY, 29 June 2017 - Over the last few months, Sudan has faced multiple emergencies with the rapid spread of suspected cases of acute watery diarrhea across 12 of its 18 states, a significant influx of South Sudanese refugees, and high rates of malnutrition, especially in the Jebel Marra Area of Central Darfur.

Over 16,600 cases of acute watery diarrhea in the past 10 months alone, were reported with 317 deaths, which is a rate double than the alert level.  White Nile State in central Sudan is the most affected with over 5,800 reported cases. Almost 20 per cent of the affected population are children.

“The current number of weekly reported cases is similar to levels we had at the peak of the rainy season last year.  In the White Nile State, with almost 100,000 refugees living mostly in camps, the situation could worsen as the rainy season begins. This is deeply worrying”, says UNICEF Sudan Representative, Abdullah Fadil.

In addition, over 155,000 refugees from South Sudan have taken refuge in Sudan since the start of the year including about 100,000 children.  With the continued conflict in South Sudan and widespread food insecurity, Sudan expects to receive three times as many refugees in 2017 than what was expected at the beginning of the year. The most affected states are East Darfur, North Darfur, South Darfur, White Nile, South and West Kordofan. 

“The growing influx of refugees from South Sudan and over 2.3 million internally displaced people, increases the burden on the already stretched resources of host communities. Children continue to be the hardest hit. Immediate and sustained support is crucial to provide them with timely and lifesaving humanitarian response, especially in the water, sanitation, health and nutrition sectors”, Fadil emphasized.

According to recent assessments in the newly accessible Jebel Marra area in Central Darfur, there are high levels of malnutrition, with severe acute malnutrition levels at 5.4 per cent.  Immunization rates are also very low with children as old as seven years having never been vaccinated and an estimated 23,000 school aged children in need of education support.
UNICEF in cooperation  with State authorities and NGOs is currently on the ground, providing multi sectoral nutrition , health, water, sanitation, hygiene promotion and protection response through an ongoing “Find and Treat Campaign’ in the north, west and central Jebel Marra area. As of mid-June the Humanitarian Action for Children is only funded at 33 per cent including only 14 percent for refugees.

Notes to Editors:

UNICEF’s Response

South Sudan Refugees
  • 90,000 children have been screened for malnutrition and 1,713 treated for severe acute malnutrition.
  • Some 60,000 school aged children are in need of education support and UNICEF is currently reaching 10,000.  
  • 5 sustainable water treatment systems were constructed in five South Sudanese Refugee camps in White Nile which benefited over 118,000 persons (comprising both refugees and members of the host community).
  • Around 8,560 SSR children are receiving child protection services, including psychosocial support in White Nile, West Kordofan and East Darfur states, through more than 90 trained animators, social workers and teachers.
Acute Watery Diarrhea
  • 4,394 suspected AWD cases (including 1,243 children under the age of 18) in White Nile state have been treated through 22 oral rehydration therapy (ORT) corners established
  • essential health supplies, including, 100 cartons of oral rehydration salt (ORS) and 25 Primary Health Care (PHC) kits were also provided and health care providers trained on AWD standard case management and treatment.
  • lifesaving water supply has also been provided to about 800,000 people at risk in the AWD affected areas in White Nile State, through chlorination, water trucking, installation of 15 tanks and three emergency water treatment units.
  • Cumulatively over 650,000 emergency affected people were reached with hygiene promotion interventions in all the affected areas. 
Jebel Marra Central Darfur
  • A UNICEF led ‘Find and Treat Campaign’ is ongoing in Nertiti, Golo and surrounding villages recently open to humanitarian assistance in Jebel Marra Central Darfur in collaboration with state authorites and NGOs on the ground.
  • More than 23,000 children have been screened over the last five days in Nertiti and Golo environs with initial indications of high levels of acute malnutrition and Oedema.
  • 32 Outpatient Therapeutic centres are operational across North, West and Central Jebel Marra to provide lifesaving nutrition services.
  • 24 boxes of Integrated Management of Childhood Illnesses (IMCI) have been prepositioned targeting 240,000 population.
Thanks to the EU, the Governments of Germany, Japan, Sweden and the United States, as well as contributing donors to the UN-Darfur Fund, the Central Emergency Response Fund and the Sudan Humanitarian Fund for supporting the ongoing UNICEF emergency response in Sudan.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable children and to the benefit of children, everywhere.

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For more information, please contact: 
Alison Parker, UNICEF Sudan, +249- 156553670,
Juliette Touma, UNICEF Regional Office, +962-79-867-4628,   
Laura Gibbons, UNICEF Australia, 04 35206273,