Sudan war sends malnutrition rates up across the region

The UN World Food Programme warned Monday (Feb.19) that the 10-month long war in Sudan has meant malnutrition is soaring across the region and is creating the world’s largest displacement crisis.

At least 25 million people are struggling with soaring rates of hunger and malnutrition as the crisis in Sudan sends shockwaves around the region, the body alerted.

The WFP also deplored a lack of resources to try to address the humanitarian crisis.

“At the moment unfortunately we don’t have the funds and we don’t have the access to be reaching people at the need at the scale that is required right now.”

Thousands of families are being displaced and forced across borders into Chad and South Sudan each week, said Annabel Symington, a spokesperson for the WFP.

Some 1.8 million people fleeing the war mainly have found refuge in neighbouring Chad and South Sudan but these grapple with their own fragilities.

“In both these countries the rainy season is coming soon and with that it’s going get even harder to reach people. We need to be prepositioning assistance right now to make sure that we can sustain a response. We are unable to do that, and on top of that Chad, South Sudan, they are dealing with their own hunger crises. So this is really crisis building on crisis […]”

In South Sudan, families fleeing Sudan now make up 35% of those facing catastrophic levels of hunger, despite only accounting for 3% of the population.

Malnutrition rates are increasing rapidly among children who are languishing in temporary transit camps, like the camp in Renk.

According to the WFP, approximately 4 per cent of children under 5 years of age crossing the border into South Sudan are malnourished upon entering the country.

18 million people are acutely food insecure in Sudan and around 3.8 million Sudanese children under 5 years old are malnourished, according to the WFP.

But those crossing the border into South Sudan are joining families already struggling with slashed rations and extreme hunger.

Five years of war and unprecedented floods have pushed South Sudan itself into a dire situation with more than 75% of the nation’s 12 million people in need of humanitarian assistance and nearly three million on the brink of starvation.

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