Over the last few months, Sudan has faced multiple emergencies with the rapid spread of suspected cases of acute watery diarrhea across 12 of its 18 states, a significant influx of South Sudanese refugees, and high rates of malnutrition, especially in the Jebel Marra Area of Central Darfur.
Over 16,600 cases of acute watery diarrhea in the past 10 months alone, were reported with 317 deaths, which is a rate double than the alert level. White Nile State in central Sudan is the most affected with over 5,800 reported cases. Almost 20 per cent of the affected population are children.
“The current number of weekly reported cases is similar to levels we had at the peak of the rainy season last year. In the White Nile State, with almost 100,000 refugees living mostly in camps, the situation could worsen as the rainy season begins. This is deeply worrying”, says UNICEF Sudan Representative, Abdullah Fadil.
In addition, over 155,000 refugees from South Sudan have taken refuge in Sudan since the start of the year including about 100,000 children. With the continued conflict in South Sudan and widespread food insecurity, Sudan expects to receive three times as many refugees in 2017 than what was expected at the beginning of the year. The most affected states are East Darfur, North Darfur, South Darfur, White Nile, South and West Kordofan.
“The growing influx of refugees from South Sudan and over 2.3 million internally displaced people, increases the burden on the already stretched resources of host communities. Children continue to be the hardest hit and immediate and sustained support is crucial to provide them with timely and lifesaving humanitarian response, especially in the water, sanitation, health and nutrition sectors”, Fadil emphasized.
According to recent assessments in the newly accessible Jebel Marra area in Central Darfur, there are high levels of malnutrition, with severe acute malnutrition levels at 5.4 per cent. Immunization rates are also very low with children as old as seven years having never been vaccinated and an estimated 23,000 school aged children in need of education support.
UNICEF in cooperation with State authorities and NGOs is currently on the ground, providing multi sectoral nutrition , health, water, sanitation, hygiene promotion and protection response through an ongoing “Find and Treat Campaign’ in the north, west and central Jebel Marra area. As of mid-June the Humanitarian Action for Children is only funded at 33 per cent including only 14 percent for refugees.