At least 498 children “and probably hundreds more” have died of starvation in four months of war in Sudan, the NGO Save the Children reported on Tuesday.
In a country where before the war, one in three inhabitants suffered from hunger, “children are dying of hunger when it could have been completely avoided”, alarms Arif Noor, its director in Sudan, in a press release.
“At least 498 children in Sudan and probably hundreds more have died of starvation” since the start of the war on April 15, he adds. “We never imagined seeing so many children dying of starvation but this is the new reality in Sudan.”
And the situation could get worse as Save the Children, unable to operate amid the fighting, had to stop treating “31,000 malnourished children”. In May, the factory that produced 60% of nutritional treatments for children was destroyed.
The war – which could last for years according to experts – between the army and the Rapid Support Forces (FSR, paramilitary) has caused around 5,000 deaths 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.
Faced with the horror, the international community is struggling to finance aid to displaced persons, refugees, injured and other victims of sexual violence, while international justice is concerned about “war crimes”. Humanitarians, prevented from entering or circulating by the authorities and attacked, repeat that they have only received 27% of their funding needs.
On Tuesday, the violence continued, mainly in Khartoum and Darfur, a western region the size of France where a quarter of the approximately 48 million Sudanese live. There, the fighting is concentrated in Nyala, capital of South Darfur, where since August 11 they have made “60 dead, 250 injured and 50,000 displaced”, according to the UN.
The army reported that its local commander was “murdered” there on Monday. While the fighting prevents access for trucks loaded with humanitarian aid, the Turkish hospital, the only one still functioning in Nyala, said it was overwhelmed by the influx of wounded.
Recently the war has also reached el-Fasher, the capital of North Darfur after, according to the humanitarian research laboratory of the American University of Yale, at least 27 localities in Darfur were burned by the RSF and Arab militias allies.
“Nobody stops the FSR, they move freely while the army is entrenched in its bases”, assures AFP Nathaniel Raymond, director of this laboratory which collaborates with the Conflict Observatory.