UNICEF Spokesman in Sudan: Poor Humanitarian Conditions Threaten Lives of Millions of Children

Hundreds of thousands of Sudanese children have become displaced (UNICEF)
Hundreds of thousands of Sudanese children have become displaced (UNICEF)
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UNICEF Spokesman in Sudan: Poor Humanitarian Conditions Threaten Lives of Millions of Children

Hundreds of thousands of Sudanese children have become displaced (UNICEF)
Hundreds of thousands of Sudanese children have become displaced (UNICEF)

The spokesman for the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) in Sudan, Othman Shaibah, pointed to obstacles in the delivery of humanitarian aid to Darfur, Khartoum and Kordofan.
Shaibeh stressed that UNICEF urgently needs $240 million to prevent famine in the next six months and reach 3.5 million children under the age of five, who reside in the country’s most vulnerable areas.
In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, Shaibah said that bureaucratic obstacles, interruptions in telecommunications, looting, in addition to the lack of safe and sustainable movement of humanitarian supplies across front lines and borders, all severely hinder children’s access to life-saving humanitarian services.
He emphasized the importance of simplifying administrative requirements, including inspections and clearance processes, to facilitate cross-line operations and the arrival of humanitarian aid through all crossing points, especially from Chad and South Sudan, in line with the international commitments and pledges made in Jeddah.
“The continuous interruption of communications hinders the ability of humanitarian agencies to respond on a large scale, and restricts families’ access to basic services,” he stated, adding: “An almost complete disruption of communications in Sudan, after the closure of the entire network and the Internet in early February, prevented millions of citizens from communicating with their families, receiving remittances from abroad, and obtaining life-saving aid.”
Shaibah also pointed to the need for additional resources to address the regional impact of the crisis, saying: “If aid is not available, the pressure on already scarce resources in host countries may create tensions between local communities and exacerbate the effects of the conflict beyond Sudan’s borders.”
He revealed that the IPC projections for food security in December 2023 indicated that 17.7 million people faced the third stage of acute food insecurity or higher “crises, emergencies, disasters and famine” in the period between October 2023 and February 2024.
“About 3.6 million children currently suffer from acute malnutrition, and this includes more than 730,000 children suffering from severe acute malnutrition, which is the most life-threatening form of malnutrition and requires urgent medical intervention,” the UNICEF spokesman remarked.
He explained that the organization “has taken all possible measures to ensure that children suffering from acute malnutrition throughout Sudan, and in conflict areas, have access to life-saving therapeutic nutrition supplies.”
Shaibah talked about challenges facing the distribution of vaccines and basic health care in Sudan, saying: “Restrictions on access and lack of security are among the main obstacles hindering the movement of vaccines, in addition to the health system which is on the verge of collapse, and front-line workers not receiving their salaries.”
He continued: “For months, supplies have been exhausted and the infrastructure represented by hospitals and health system workers continues to be under constant attack, including cold chains.”
The UNICEF spokesman warned of the spread of epidemic diseases among children, saying that since the beginning of the war, the organization has distributed emergency health supplies to 7.3 million people, and was able to reach 202,000 vulnerable mothers and children in conflict areas and provide them with emergency aid.

 

 



Hezbollah Fires New Barrage at Israel, Which Vows to Hit Back

Hezbollah members take part in a military exercise during a media tour organized for the occasion of Resistance and Liberation Day, in Aaramta, Lebanon, May 21, 2023. (Reuters)
Hezbollah members take part in a military exercise during a media tour organized for the occasion of Resistance and Liberation Day, in Aaramta, Lebanon, May 21, 2023. (Reuters)
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Hezbollah Fires New Barrage at Israel, Which Vows to Hit Back

Hezbollah members take part in a military exercise during a media tour organized for the occasion of Resistance and Liberation Day, in Aaramta, Lebanon, May 21, 2023. (Reuters)
Hezbollah members take part in a military exercise during a media tour organized for the occasion of Resistance and Liberation Day, in Aaramta, Lebanon, May 21, 2023. (Reuters)

Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah group said it fired a new wave of rockets and drones at the Israeli army on Thursday, after an Israeli strike killed one of its senior commanders, AFP reported.
It was Hezbollah’s largest simultaneous attack in near-daily cross-border fire between it and the Israeli army since its ally Hamas’s October 7 attack on Israel triggered the Gaza war.
Hezbollah fighters launched “an attack with rockets and drones, targeting six barracks and military sites” while simultaneously flying “squadrons of explosive-laden drones” at three other Israeli bases, the group said in a statement.
One of the targets included an Israeli base that Hezbollah said housed an intelligence headquarters “responsible for the assassinations.”
Hezbollah said the attacks were “part of the response to the assassination” of Hezbollah commander Taleb Abdallah on Tuesday.
The Israeli army said about “40 projectiles were launched toward the Galilee and Golan Heights area,” adding most were intercepted while others ignited fires.
The Israeli government vowed to respond strongly to all Hezbollah attacks.
“Israel will respond with force to all aggressions by Hezbollah,” government spokesman David Mencer said during a press briefing.
“Whether through diplomatic efforts or otherwise, Israel will restore security on our northern border,” he added.
In recent weeks, cross-border exchanges have escalated, with Hezbollah stepping up its use of drones to attack Israeli military positions and Israel hitting back with targeted strikes against the militants.
On Wednesday, top Hezbollah official Hashem Safieddine vowed the group would “increase the intensity, strength, quantity and quality of our attacks,” while speaking at Abdallah’s funeral.
The Israeli army confirmed it carried out the strike that “eliminated” Abdallah on Tuesday, describing him as “one of Hezbollah’s most senior commanders in southern Lebanon.”
A Lebanese military source said he was the “most important” Hezbollah commander to have been killed since the start of the war.
The cross-border violence has killed at least 468 people in Lebanon, most of them fighters but also including 89 civilians, according to an AFP tally.
Israeli authorities say at least 15 Israeli soldiers and 11 civilians have been killed.