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230,000 children, mothers risk dying of hunger in Sudan – Save the Children

Without critical action, nearly 230,000 children and new mothers in war-ravaged Sudan are “likely to die from hunger”, Save the Children warned on Wednesday. Nearly…

Without critical action, nearly 230,000 children and new mothers in war-ravaged Sudan are “likely to die from hunger”, Save the Children warned on Wednesday.

Nearly 11 months of fighting between the forces of two rival generals has killed thousands and displaced eight million people in the northeast African country, the United Nations says.

The bombing and destruction of fields and factories have plunged Sudan into “one of the worst” nutrition situations in the world, said Arif Noor, Save the Children’s country director in Sudan.

“Nearly 230,000 children, pregnant women and new mothers could die in the coming months,” the British non-governmental organisation said.

The charity said, “More than 2.9 million children in Sudan are acutely malnourished and an additional 729,000 children under five are suffering from severe acute malnutrition – the most dangerous and deadly form of extreme hunger”.

It warned that “about 222,000 severely malnourished children and more than 7,000 new mothers are likely to die” under the current levels of funding which “only covers 5.5 per cent” of Sudan’s total needs.

The United Nations World Food Programme sounded the alarm on Sudan this month, warning the war risked triggering the world’s largest hunger crisis.

The conflict, which experts have warned could last years, is being fought between Sudan’s army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, his former deputy and commander of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

‘Cycle of hunger’
Noor warned the situation would only worsen as the consequences of the current fighting take hold.

“No planting last year means no food today. No planting today means no food tomorrow. The cycle of hunger is getting worse and worse with no end in sight – only more misery,” he said.

Already, more than half of all Sudanese, including 14 million children, require humanitarian assistance to survive, the United Nations says.

The UN has described a “climate of sheer terror”, reporting the use of heavy artillery in densely populated urban areas, sexual violence as a weapon of war and the destruction of hospitals and schools.

The United States has accused both sides of war crimes and alleged the RSF has carried out ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.

A report before the UN Human Rights Council details gross violations and abuses of international human rights law and possible war crimes.

Earlier in March, the UN’s human rights chief Volker Turk called the conflict a “living nightmare” and said it had “slipped into the fog of global amnesia”.

The conflict has driven 18 million people into food insecurity, including five million who are only one stage away from famine.

Humanitarian organisations have been prevented from entering Sudan or moving freely and have come under attack by both sides.

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