The United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) said no fewer than 9 children were killed and 50 injured in the ongoing violence in Khartoum, Darfur, and North Kordofan in Sudan.
UNICEF said children were also hindered from accessing medical care and lifesaving essentials, making it difficult to collect and verify data on incidents in the conflict.
The violence which erupted between the Sudan Army and the paramilitary group known as the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), has left about 83 people dead with more than 1,126 wounded according, to a report by the World Health Organization dated 13 April, 2023.
In a statement released on Thursday, UNICEF’s Executive Director Catherine Russell said that the five days of intensive hostilities and a broken truce in Sudan had left children in a terrible position and that if the violence is not stopped, they will continue to suffer the brunt of it.
It stated that the organization had learned of children seeking refuge in classrooms and daycare facilities as the violence raged all around them, forcing them to flee, and that hospitals, healthcare facilities, and other infrastructure had been destroyed, limiting their access to medicine and other life-saving necessities.
An estimated $40 million worth of vaccines and insulin are at risk due to the disruption of the power supply, and the inability to restock generators with fuel has placed the cold chain in Sudan at risk.
It also stated that the violence has disrupted the care of over 50 000 vulnerable and severely malnourished children who are supposed to receive round-the-clock medical attention.
UNICEF said the humanitarian needs of Sudan have increased but that it cannot provide adequate support if the safety and security of its staff are in jeopardy.
It expressed concern at the attack on children, families, humanitarian workers, and organizations while expressing sympathy to those who lost their lives or suffered injuries as a result of the violence.
The statement read in part “At least 9 children have reportedly been killed in the fighting, and more than 50 children have reportedly been injured as hostilities continue in Khartoum, the Darfurs and North Kordofan. The perilous security situation across the country makes it very difficult to collect and verify information, but we know that while fighting continues, children will continue to pay the price.
“Many families are trapped in the crossfire, with little or no access to electricity, terrified about the fighting and the possibility of running out of food, water and medicine. Thousands of families have been forced from their homes in search of safety.
“We have received reports of children sheltering in schools and care centres while fighting rages around them, of children’s hospitals forced to evacuate as shelling moves closer, and hospitals, health centres and other critical infrastructure damaged or destroyed, limiting access to essential and lifesaving care and medicine.
“The fighting has disrupted critical, life-saving care for an estimated 50,000 severely acutely malnourished children. These vulnerable children need ongoing, round-the-clock care, which is being put at risk by the escalating violence.
“The fighting also puts at risk the cold chain in Sudan, including over $40 million worth of vaccines and insulin, due to the breaks in the power supply and the inability to restock generators with fuel.”
The organization also referred to the Secretary-General’s call for a halt to hostilities and pleaded with all parties concerned to uphold their international commitments to safeguard children from harm and give humanitarian workers the security they need to reach children in need.
It further called on “all parties to refrain from attacking civilian infrastructure on which children depend- such as water and sanitation system, health facilities and schools”.