300 days since conflict began, Sudan has ‘world's largest’ number of displaced children: UN

UN children's agency says 3M children in Sudan are internally displaced amid conflict

Peter Kenny  | 09.02.2024 - Update : 10.02.2024
300 days since conflict began, Sudan has ‘world's largest’ number of displaced children: UN


The UN children's agency UNICEF warned Friday that in Sudan, widespread malnutrition, the “world’s largest displacement of children”, and a shattered health system threaten to kill far more children than the country's armed conflict itself. 

UNICEF issued its stark warning as Sudan's brutal war was hitting the 300-day mark when a “wave of atrocities was unleashed upon the children” of Sudan as two groups from the armed forces triggered a power struggle.

Around 3 million children have been internally displaced in Sudan since the outbreak of fighting, in addition to 2 million displaced in previous crises – the most significant number of internally displaced children globally, said UNICEF.

Sudan has been mired by fighting between the army, led by Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, head of the country's ruling Sovereign Council, and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) since April 2023.

UNICEF spokesperson James Elder said at a UN press conference he recently visited Sudan after being there during a brutal conflict in Darfur 20 years ago.

"When I returned this past week – I heard stories of deaths from nutrition and deaths from violence – I also met countless 20-somethings for whom dreams had died," he said.

He said that the consequences of the past 300 days mean that more than 700,000 children are likely to suffer from the deadliest form of malnutrition this year.  

UN can't treat people

Elder said that the UN will not be able to treat more than 300,000 of them without improved access and additional support and that tens of thousands will “likely die.”

He said: "There has been a 500% increase in cases of killing, sexual violence, and recruitment from a year ago.

"That equates to terrifying numbers of children killed, raped, or recruited. And these numbers are the tip of the iceberg."

In addition, two-thirds of the population now lack access to health care.

"This, then, is a war destroying health and nutrition systems, and that is killing people," said Elder.

UNICEF said an estimated 3.5 million children are projected to suffer from acute malnutrition this year, including over 700,000 who are expected to suffer and require specialized, uninterrupted, life-saving treatment.

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