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Children die as measles spread in South Darfur camp

July 29 - 2022 NYALA
Displaced children at Zamzam camp in North Darfur, 2011 (Olivier Chassot / UNAMID)
Displaced children at Zamzam camp in North Darfur, 2011 (Olivier Chassot / UNAMID)

Kalma camp for the displaced near Nyala, capital of South Darfur, is witnessing a deadly outbreak of measles, amid acute food shortages. More than six children die daily.

Hanan Hasan Khater, a women leader in Kalma, one of the largest camps in Darfur, told Radio Dabanga that many children have contracted measles, despite the fact that most of the children have been vaccinated.  

The death rates among children exceed six cases per day as a result of the spread of diseases caused by malnutrition and the outbreak of measles, she said, and pointed to an acute shortage of food in the camp.

In May, the West Kordofan Ministry of Health announced the emergence of measles in the state, and said that the cases may have originated from a South Sudanese refugee camp in the state.

Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has been assisting vaccination campaigns earlier this year and in 2021. In April, about 30,000 children, including South Sudanese refugees, were targeted in East Darfur. Last year, MSF launched an urgent measles vaccination campaign to contain a rapidly growing number of cases in Jebel Marra, South Darfur.

Food insecurity

According to the latest estimates, one-third of the population, or 15 million people, face food insecurity throughout the lean season in Sudan, which lasts through September.

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) in Sudan told Radio Dabanga on July 14 that it was facing a funding shortfall of $366 million from now until the end of the year.

“WFP is currently in a position where we are having to prioritise assistance based on the resources available,” the UN food agency stated. “These are always heart wrenching decisions to make, knowing that we cannot help everyone in Sudan who needs it”.

On July 21, the World Bank signed an agreement with WFP to provide $100 million in financing directly to the food agency for a new food emergency project.


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