Sudan's 11-Month Civil War: Child Safety at Risk, Sexual Violence Soars

By Vanessa Onyema | Mar 18, 2024

It's been eleven months of civil war in Sudan which has plunged the country into a devastating humanitarian crisis. The conflict, which started on April 15, 2023, has triggered the world's largest looming hunger crisis. 

The fighting between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and Rapid Support Forces (RSF) has displaced a staggering 8.1 million people. 6.3 million are internally displaced within Sudan, while 1.8 million have fled abroad.  

The human cost of the crisis is immense. ACLED confirms nearly 14,000 fatalities, while the Sudanese Federal Ministry of Health reports over 27,700 injuries. The World Health Organisation (WHO) also reported that a worsening health situation adds to the healthcare burden in the country.

Cholera cases continue to rise, with over 10,730 suspected cases and 296 deaths recorded by February 2024. This was recorded from 60 places in 11 states and represents a 650-case increase over the 19th of January. Access to healthcare remains severely limited, with 15 million lacking access and 70-80% of health facilities closed due to the conflict.

The delivery of humanitarian aid is met with different barriers. Instability, looting, and logistical issues hinder humanitarian efforts. Fuel shortages also have an impact on the mobility of humanitarian personnel and supplies, as well as the generation of power required for activities (such as cold chain storage and water delivery).

Despite these challenges, aid organizations strive to reach the most vulnerable. However, the response is severely underfunded, with only 5% (131.3 million USD) secured from the required 2.7 billion USD.

While some areas have received limited assistance such as food security and livelihood (93%), education (2.1%), health (20%), general protection (5.5%), shelter (7.1%) and gender-based violence (0.7%), a vast majority of the population remain disadvantaged in nutrition, mine action, site management, and refugee response. Also, the complete lack of child protection measures exposes millions of children to the horrors of war. 

The surge in gender-based violence constitutes crimes against humanity. An estimated 4.2 million women and girls are at risk of sexual assault, with only a small percentage (0.7%) receiving any form of support. 

Sudan's crisis demands immediate international intervention. Increased funding, a coordinated response to address the various aspects of the crisis, and constant efforts to ensure the safety and well-being of civilians, particularly women and children, are crucial to prevent further suffering and pave the way for lasting peace.

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