Famine… a threat to the children of Sudan

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Sudan is facing an undeclared hunger crisis, while the humanitarian situation remains a major concern, with steadily rising levels of food insecurity, according to several UN agencies.

Khartoum: Change: Sarah Taj Al-Sir

The multi-partner Integrated Food Security Phase Classification report, which was carried out between March/April/2022 with the participation of 19 agencies, including numerous government departments, specialized UN agencies and local and international NGOs, indicates a deepening significant to food security. crisis in Sudan. It is estimated that a quarter of the country’s population faces acute hunger from June to September, an increase of almost two million people.

The majority of those suffering from acute hunger are in the capital, Khartoum, in the Darfur region, and in Kassala and White Nile states, which are the areas most affected by conflict and economic decline.

UNICEF: 40,000 children under five die each year from indirect consequences of malnutrition

Following the drought in Sudan in February 2022, the estimated number of cases of severe acute malnutrition increased from 618,950 to 650,000 and cases of severe acute malnutrition with medical complications from 92,843 to 97,493, while cases of children under five suffering from moderate acute malnutrition increased from 2.45 million to 2.57 million.

Children are the most vulnerable group

Children are the most vulnerable group during times of famine and severe food insecurity, and they are at risk of death from acute undernutrition. These crises also have lifelong consequences that lead to severe difficulties for their development. and their health.

Ministry of Health official: Economic conditions have forced Sudanese to eat only two meals a day at a low-diversity table

According to UNICEF, more than 40,000 children under the age of five die every year in Sudan as a result of indirect malnutrition, at a time when the report “Status and trends of nutrition in Sudan” published by the Federal Ministry of Health has confirmed that 2 out of 10 children in every state suffer from short-term nutritional deficiencies.

The emergency coordinator of the National Nutrition Program Department of the Federal Ministry of Health, Osama Ismail, said (Al-Taghyeer) that general malnutrition among children under five is still registering high figures, reaching 13, 6% in the 2018 nutritional survey, compared to 16.3% in 2014. Then 16.45% in 2010 AD. He pointed out that food shortages accumulate over time, causing malnutrition or so-called “hidden hunger” associated with a lack of nutrients, minerals, iron and iodine, in children under of five years.

State report: 2 in 10 children in every state suffer from short-term undernutrition

Ismail highlighted the prevalence of two types of malnutrition in children, namely severe wasting and stunting, pointing out the prevalence of the latter at over 35%, which is one third of Sudanese children, which means that one in three children suffers from stunted growth. .

Stunting is prevalent in mountainous areas such as Red Sea, Darfur, Jebel Marra, and he pointed out that stunting is treated in the first two years by replacing the child with nutrients. Some of them are successfully treated, while others continue without treatment until He pointed out that the rate of stunting is constant and has not changed since 1987. Another A survey was carried out in the country.

Varied array

Ismail pointed out that economic conditions force many Sudanese to eat only two meals a day at a table that is not diverse, and he added: The table may include only one food, in addition to giving up eat dairy products or reduce their purchase. because of its high prices, and pointed out that one of the factors which exacerbates malnutrition is calcium deficiency.

High Mortality Camp Word

In the Kalma IDP camp, the number of deaths due to lack of food reached more than 35 deaths in one camp, from June to August, including 20 cases in June, 19 in July and 6 deaths in August.

Confirmed Dr. Hawa Zakaria Ishaq, nutrition program manager at Kalmil Camp treatment center (Change), said the most important reason for the high malnutrition indicators is that the World Food Program has stopped providing in-kind aid and the has replaced. with cash support, which is often used for purposes other than buying food due to economic hardship. The current season, in addition to the fall season and associated water-related diseases, such as fevers, catarrh and diarrhoea.

She pointed out that there are three malnutrition treatment centers in Kalma camp, two of which specialize in nutrition, where physical measurements of children are taken. She added that in case of moderate malnutrition, the medicine is issued and the child leaves the house, and in case of severe malnutrition with complications, he is kept in the hospital, and after his condition improves, he is transferred to an outpatient treatment program which includes one session each week. Hawa mentioned that 95% of deaths occur in late cases, and added: the child may die after being brought to the center an hour later, or during the procedures, and pointed out that some families try to treat their children. through municipal drugs and not take him to the hospital until his condition is delayed.

widening gap

Agricultural engineer, specialist in food security economics, Ahmed Arafat Suleiman, confirmed that Sudan is facing complex issues in its quest to achieve the second goal of the Sustainable Development Goals. It is food security, despite the presence of large humanitarian interventions, especially in areas affected by disasters and conflicts, and he said: For (change), food security is achieved when all people have physical and economic opportunities at all times, to have access to adequate, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and preferences for a healthy life and well-being.

He pointed out that the growth of local food production, especially food crops (millet, maize), still lags behind the growing food demand resulting from population growth and lack of cultivated land, which in turn leads to the continued widening of the gap between domestic production and food demand.

He considered that the civil conflicts and political instability in the country are the most important causes of disruptions in the availability and access to food, and are at the root of the high rates of undernutrition among children.

He accused the government of negligence due to the absence of its role represented in the absence of a clear strategy to pay attention to the agricultural sector, in addition to the fragility of the security situation, which prevents small farmers from obtain their agricultural land, especially in remote areas.

Food security expert: civil conflicts and political instability are the most important causes of disruptions in food availability


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