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Sudan: Number of families suffering from hunger almost doubles

Sudan: Number of families suffering from hunger almost doubles
Residents prepare food in a Khartoum neighborhood, June 16, 2023   -  
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The number of families suffering from hunger has almost doubled in the past year in Sudan, where a war between generals has plunged the country into chaos for six months, WHO and UNICEF said on Wednesday.

The conflict has killed over 9,000 people, according to a largely underestimated toll, and left millions displaced and refugees, worsening the country's health crisis, where more than half of the inhabitants need aid. humanitarian to survive.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), "the number of families suffering from hunger has almost doubled" over the past year. “700,000 children suffer from severe acute malnutrition and 100,000 children need life-saving treatment against acute malnutrition accompanied by medical complications,” alerted the two UN agencies in a press release.

“More than 20.3 million people, or more than 42% of the country's population, face high levels of acute food insecurity” and this is particularly true in areas where clashes rage, notably in Darfur, Khartoum, South Kordofan, and West Kordofan, said a UNICEF spokesperson in an email to AFP.

Citing a projection from Johns Hopkins University, the statement said "at least 10,000 children under the age of 5 could die by the end of 2023 due to increased food insecurity and service disruptions." essential" since the start of the conflict in Sudan.

The press release specifies that this modeling is developed by the Lives Saved Tool program, which, according to its website, is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

War broke out on April 15 between the army led by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhane and the paramilitaries of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) of General Mohamed Hamdane Daglo.

With more than 7.1 million internally displaced people – including 4.5 million since the start of the conflict – Sudan now has the largest number of displaced people in the world, the statement said.

Millions of children are exposed to various diseases, such as cholera, dengue fever, measles, and malaria, while the health system is significantly strained by attacks and fighting, warn the WHO and the Unicef.

Health facilities are occupied, looted, or destroyed. Around 70% of hospitals in conflict-affected regions are not in working order.

Cholera, a highly contagious disease, has for example already killed 65 people, many of them children, and will cause many more deaths if it is not quickly brought under control, indicate the two organizations.

They call for preserving and restoring health and nutrition systems to avoid an “unacceptably high number of deaths” among children and vulnerable populations.

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