1684037905 The conflict in Sudan will have a devastating impact on

The conflict in Sudan will have a devastating impact on children’s futures unless peace is restored

The situation of children in Sudan is very worrying. If the fighting doesn’t stop, Sudan is likely to descend into chaos, taking its children with it and unleashing a huge humanitarian crisis across the region.

I would like to think differently, but the failure of the ceasefire attempts suggests that this conflict may drag on for some time. Lessons from other recent conflicts show how difficult it is to restore peace once fighting begins and spreads, as has happened in the capital Khartoum and beyond. I really hope that the negotiations between the two parties that are currently taking place in Saudi Arabia, mediated by the Saudis and the United States, will progress and move forward swiftly.

The conflict could not have broken out at a worse time. Populations across the region are facing serious problems due to a devastating drought that is bringing millions to the brink of starvation. Around 1.5 million people are at risk of starvation in Sudan and tens of thousands of children are literally at death’s door.

Several children are given water on the border between Ethiopia and Sudan.Several children receive water at the border between Ethiopia and Sudan. Courtesy of World Vision

The threat of civil war in Sudan will also have huge repercussions across the region. I will put aside the concern that neighboring countries might take sides and make the situation worse, and simply focus on the humanitarian implications. The number of displaced and desperate is already increasing, with thousands leaving the country every day. More than 150,000 people have already fled to Chad, Central African Republic, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Egypt. Some of the people fleeing the fighting in Sudan were already housed there as refugees. Now they are forced to return to the volatile contexts they fled and may not be safe in. They return to places like Tigray in northern Ethiopia or southern Sudan.

Even before the conflict, Sudan was severely affected by famine. Malnutrition was already widespread, with more than three million children suffering from malnutrition and dependent on humanitarian food assistance. Sudan is a huge country, the third largest in Africa. Therefore, in order to bring aid to remote areas, great distances must be covered on difficult roads. It has always been difficult, but now it is much more difficult and the roads are unsafe due to the fighting. Places like Darfur and Kordofan in the south, where humanitarian organizations like World Vision once operated, are now virtually cut off from aid.

Humanitarian organizations and the United Nations have also been victims of large-scale looting, particularly in South Darfur. Large amounts of food, support vehicles, offices and warehouses were looted. Getting things up and running again will require not only access but also the rebuilding of humanitarian and logistical infrastructure. Meanwhile, boys and girls will suffer.

A third of Sudan’s 49 million people were in need of humanitarian assistance, but only 14% of the required funds were allocated

There is also the challenge of meeting the needs of refugees fleeing Sudan to neighboring countries. The places they head to are in remote locations with very little infrastructure. The arriving families are extremely vulnerable. It will be very difficult and potentially expensive to get aid to these refugee areas and some are in places where fighting has been ongoing.

Leaving Sudan and entering host countries is dangerous, especially for women and children who are easily exploited. Robberies and muggings, rape and sexual abuse are also risks. And moving through areas of fighting and uncertainty about which armed groups control which areas will be frightening for families.

The UN warns that more than 800,000 people could flee Sudan. Massive humanitarian aid and multinational logistics are required to help this large number of people fleeing their homes.

The situation in Sudan is also deteriorating rapidly. Boys and girls don’t go to school and spend the winter at home. The healthcare system is on the verge of collapse. Hospitals and health centers lack electricity, water, oxygen, supplies and staff. Thousands are believed to have been injured and hundreds dead.

Food supplies are running out. In Khartoum, people are reporting rising prices and food shortages as mothers struggle to find milk for their children. Parents risk their lives to get groceries when shops and supermarkets are closed. Millions of people in Khartoum live in fear of airstrikes, outbreaks of fighting and armed checkpoints, while rival factions fight for control of military bases and key locations. Thousands of people have already fled to relatives in the countryside, where it is safer, or have crossed borders.

Even before this conflict, humanitarian organizations like World Vision and others were trying to meet the needs of millions of people. A third of Sudan’s 49 million people were in need of humanitarian assistance, but only 14% of the required funds were allocated. Millions of vulnerable people are now cut off from aid and facing a worsening maelstrom of violence, food shortages and health system collapse. The breach of the ceasefire means that millions of people cannot work and money is tight due to the closure of the banks.

More than 800,000 people could flee Sudan. Massive humanitarian aid and multinational logistics are required to provide assistance to this large number of people fleeing their homes.

With Khartoum as the main battlefield, Port Sudan in the north-east of the country on the Red Sea coast is becoming the new hub of humanitarian operations.

Humanitarian organizations like mine are hoping to send a team to better understand the operational environment so they can resume specific activities when it’s safe. We are also in touch with hundreds of our national staff where phone connection allows. Thousands of local aid workers are hibernating at home and want to get back to work. They are committed to building a nation where children can enjoy peace and make their dreams come true.

If this conflict continues, it will have devastating effects on children’s futures. We have already seen it in Syria, Yemen, South Sudan and Ukraine. We know how this all ends. For the sake of the children, please stop fighting and start making peace.

Lilian Dodzo is a regional director of World Vision in East Africa.

You can follow PLANETA FUTURO on TwitterFacebook and Instagram and subscribe to our “Newsletter” here.