Medical group warns of catastrophic humanitarian situation in the Zamzam camp in Sudan’s North Darfur state.
At least one child dies every two hours in a camp for displaced people in Sudan’s North Darfur state during a nine-month war that has caused the collapse of humanitarian services, a medical charity says.
Before the war began in mid-April, the health system in North Darfur was supported by UN agencies. “This aid has now come to an abrupt halt,” read a report published on Monday by Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres, or MSF).
“What we are seeing in Zamzam camp is an absolutely catastrophic situation,” said Claire Nicolet, head of MSF’s emergency response in Sudan.
The charity estimated about 13 children die each day.
“Those with severe malnutrition who have not yet died are at high risk of dying within three to six weeks if they do not get treatment. Their condition is treatable if they can get to a health facility. But many cannot,” Nicolet added.
MSF is the only operational health provider in Zamzam camp, one of the largest and oldest camps for displaced people in the country.
“Staff no longer receive salaries, equipment and medicines are in short supply, as are fuel for generators, water and other supplies that are needed to keep health facilities running,” the report said.
“Malnutrition programmes that were once present in El Fasher – the state capital – are non-existent,” it added.
Last year, a simmering rivalry between the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and the Sudanese army erupted into all-out war. The fighting has caused about 10.7 million people to flee their homes while 17.7 million are now facing acute hunger, United Nations agencies said.
January is usually a month when malnutrition is at its lowest because stocks of food are filled up after December’s harvest, but because of the war, people have been unable to tend to their crops, MSF said.
On top of the war, rainfall has been lower than usual, exacerbating the already dire humanitarian crisis in the region.