At least 498 children “and likely hundreds more” have starved to death in four months of war in Sudan, NGO Save the Children reported on Tuesday.
In a country where one in three people suffered from hunger before the war, “children are dying of hunger when it could have been avoided,” warns Arif Noor, the director in Sudan, in a press release.
“At least 498 children in Sudan and probably hundreds more have died of starvation since the war began on April 15,” he adds. “We never thought that so many children would starve, but this is the new reality in Sudan.”
And the situation could get even worse as the fighting has left Save the Children unable to operate and has had to stop treating “31,000 malnourished children”. In May, the factory that produced 60% of children’s nutritional supplements was destroyed.
The war between the army and the Rapid Support Forces (FSR, paramilitary), which experts say has been going on for years, has claimed around 5,000 lives since April 15, according to a report by the NGO Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (Acled).
It also forced more than four million people to flee.
In the face of the horror, the international community is struggling to fund aid for displaced people, refugees, the injured and other victims of sexual violence, while the international justice system frets over “war crimes.”
Humanitarian workers who were prevented by authorities from entering or moving and who were attacked reiterate that they received only 27% of their funding needs.
Violence continued Tuesday, particularly in Khartoum and Darfur, a western region the size of France and home to a quarter of Sudan’s roughly 48 million people.
There, the fighting is concentrated on Nyala, the capital of South Darfur, where, according to the UN, “60 people have died, 250 have been injured and 50,000 have been displaced” since August 11.
The army reported its local commander was “murdered” there on Monday.
As fighting prevents access for trucks loaded with humanitarian aid, Turkey’s hospital, the only one still functioning in Nyala, said it was overwhelmed with the influx of wounded.
More recently, war also reached El-Fasher, the capital of North Darfur, after at least 27 towns in Darfur were burned by the RSF and allied Arab militias, according to the American University of Yale Humanitarian Research Laboratory.
“No one is stopping the FSR, they are moving freely while the army is entrenched in their bases,” assures AFP Nathaniel Raymond, director of this laboratory, which works with the Conflict Observatory.