At least one million children at risk by Sudan aid suspension

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The safety and survival of a million Sudanese children is at grave risk, not only in Darfur but across the whole of northern Sudan.

The suspension of aid agencies, including Save the Children, means children across the country, including Darfur, are without access to lifesaving food, water and healthcare. Other aid agencies were asked to suspend operations by the Sudanese authorities earlier this week. When the reality of that suspension is calculated, it means over a million children will not be receiving essential support.

“Save the Children and other agencies have been doing vital work in Sudan for decades,” said Ken Caldwell, Save the Children's Director of International Operations. “When we are suddenly asked to stop our work a huge number of people who rely on us are going to suffer. We are deeply worried that we are not able to help the children who need us.”

Aid agencies currently provide basic services like providing clean water and sanitation. Since having to suspend our work in northern Sudan it is unclear for how long local communities will be able to maintain these essential services.

In Darfur many children have become separated from their families whilst fleeing the fighting, or trying to find food or work. These children end up living on the streets and in many areas are forcibly recruited as soldiers by the various fighting forces. Around Khartoum, tens of thousands of people live in a camp constructed largely of bamboo and cloth.

“Save the Children is working in Sudan for a reason and that reason is to provide life-saving support for children,” said Ken Caldwell. “Their situation will only deteriorate until we can get back to work.”

Save the Children