Children in Sudan are in the middle of a perfect storm of crises - UNICEF Geneva Palais briefing


GENEVA/KHARTOUM, September 23, 2022 – “In this briefing, I would like to underscore the tremendous challenges faced by children in Sudan. And to give a sense of what action is urgently needed. Children are caught in a perfect storm of crisis after crisis.

“More than one in three children in Sudan is in need of humanitarian assistance. This amazing statistic equates to almost 8 million girls and boys. That’s an increase of 2.7 million, or 35 percent, since 2020.

“Much of this is due to growing food insecurity, a problem that has exacerbated ongoing child malnutrition, water, health and education crises across Sudan.

“Three million children under the age of 5 in Sudan are acutely malnourished, of whom 650,000 suffer from severe acute malnutrition. About half of them die without treatment.

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“Routine vaccination rates in Sudan are declining. Between 2019 and 2021, the number of children who did not receive a single dose of life-saving vaccines doubled.

Almost 40 percent of the population has no access to a basic supply of drinking water. 70 percent of the population do not have access to basic sanitation.

“Basic health care, water, hygiene and sanitation are critical to saving children’s lives. It is vital if a country is to fight infectious diseases in early childhood and break the vicious cycle between malnutrition and disease outbreaks.

“After all, seven million children in Sudan do not go to school. Seventy percent of 10-year-olds are unable to read and understand a simple sentence.

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“Sudan’s children need a solid foundation for quality learning that is both relevant to their lives and equips them with the skills needed for the 21st century job market.

“With that in mind, consider these latest statistics: over the past year, Sudan’s health budget has fallen from 9 percent to 3 percent of total public spending, and its education budget has fallen from 12.5 percent to 1 percent.

“Of course, the children in Sudan are not to blame for the deteriorating health and education systems. But they are the first victims to bear the brunt.

“Then what is to be done?

“First, we call on the Sudanese authorities to urgently increase public spending on the delivery of life-saving and life-sustaining social services to children and communities.

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“Second, we call on the international community to stand in solidarity with the children of Sudan and increase humanitarian and resilience funding for the country.

“In four months to 2022, humanitarian partners have received just 34 percent of the funding we need under the Humanitarian Response Plan, with some sectors severely underfunded and only 13 percent of the $102 million Education in Emergencies Appeal covered .

“I know I shared some deeply disturbing data today, but in a final sentence:

What is already a crisis for children in Sudan will become a disaster if no action is taken.

“Many Thanks.”

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