Sudan hunger crisis: ‘At least six children die per month’ in South Darfur camp

Kalma camp for the displaced near Nyala in South Darfur (File photo: Albert González Farran / UNAMID

The El Sareif camp for displaced people, west of Nyala, South Darfur, faces a severe child malnutrition crisis. Motasem Hajaro, the camp’s youth head, reported five to six child deaths per month due to food shortages. At least 70 per cent of the camp’s children are malnourished, he told Radio Dabanga yesterday, and criticised aid efforts, noting that only 40 children received nutritional biscuits last month, leaving many without support.

The camp, home to over 42,000 displaced families, is facing dire conditions. Hajaro explained that the soaring prices of staple foods like millet and corn have surpassed the purchasing power of the displaced residents. “The price of millet flour has reached SDG6,500 per kg, while sorghum flour costs SDG6,000. The displaced have no means to buy food or earn an income, forcing many families to beg in the markets.”

The health situation is equally dire. The camp’s two health centres ceased operations following the outbreak of conflict, leaving displaced people reliant on private clinics and hospitals in Nyala, which require financial resources they lack.

Hajaro called on humanitarian organisations to step in and address the urgent needs in health and food supplies that have been neglected since the war began on April 15, 2023. He mentioned that the security situation in the camp has stabilised recently after the paramilitary Rapid Support Force intervened in response to reports of unrest.

The residents of El Sareif camp continue to face severe hardships, with urgent calls for international aid to alleviate their suffering and prevent further loss of life.

Kalma camp

Last month, Radio Dabanga reported the increased rate of children suffering from malnutrition has in Kalma camp for displaced people in South Darfur due to an acute food shortage and inadequate health services.

Prior reports about the child mortality surge at the large camp have shown no signs of abating. On May 23, Radio Dabanga reported that 110 people, including 66 children, died in Kalma camp due to a concerning rise in potential polio cases alongside acute hunger.

Kalma has housed more than 100,000 displaced people for 20 years, with new arrivals due to the war.