More than 10 million children in line of fire as war rages in Sudan – Al Jazeera English

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Save the Children warns 230,000 children, new mothers could also die of hunger without critical action to stop the conflict.

More than 10 million children in Sudan have been in an active warzone during almost a year of war, a new report has warned, as it called on political leaders to take immediate action to stop the conflict.

In a report published on Wednesday, the United Kingdom-based charity, Save The Children, said that half of Sudan’s children are currently or have been within five kilometres of the front lines of the fighting, leaving them vulnerable to “gunfire, shelling, air strikes and other violence”.

The organisation worked with the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED) on the report, which shows a 60 percent increase in the number of children exposed to violence from the first month of the conflict.

Sudan’s political standoff between army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and the head of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), Mohamed Hamdan “Hemedti” Dagalo, broke into open conflict in April 2023.

The new joint analysis showed that since fighting erupted in the capital, Khartoum, on April 15, 2023, more than 10 million children have been exposed to battles, bombings, mortar and missile strikes, as well as direct attacks on civilians.

The report said a majority of the violent events have occurred in the more populated areas, including towns and cities of more than 100,000 people, increasing the risks for many children of repeated traumatising violence.

“These findings show how dangerously close to death and injury so many children in Sudan have been over the past year of war,” said Dr Arif Noor, the group’s head in Sudan. “The situation has reached boiling point.”

“Children in Sudan have suffered unimaginably – they have seen killings, massacres, bullet-littered streets, dead bodies and shelled homes while they live with the all-too-real fear that they, themselves, could be killed, injured, recruited to fight or subject to sexual violence,” Noor said.

Millions more children do not have access to adequate food, 3.8 million are malnourished and thousands of others risk death from disease as the country’s health system is near collapse, Noor said, adding that not a single child has been able to go to school over the past year.

An estimated nine million people in Sudan have fled their homes, while the United Nations and other aid groups have warned of impending famine in many parts of the country, Africa’s third largest by size.

Of that number, four million are children – the highest in the world – while 230,000 children and new mothers are likely to die from hunger without action, the report warned.

According to the UN, at least 12,000 civilians had been killed by the end of 2023, although the actual death toll is believed to be much higher.

With 25 million of Sudan’s 49 million population in need, it has become the world’s largest internal displacement crisis. While the UN Security Council has called for a ceasefire, the fighting continues unabated.

The charity called for urgent and increased funding to address the humanitarian crisis, saying that the UN’s response plan is merely 5 percent funded, with a shortfall of more than $2.5bn.

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