More than 400 people have been killed and over 3,500 others hurt in the fighting in Sudan, the World Health Organization said Friday.
“Four hundred and thirteen people have died and 3,551 people have been injured … that we know of,” WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris told reporters at a press briefing in Geneva.
The UN children’s agency UNICEF added that at least nine children were among the dead and more than 50 children had been wounded.
Citing Sudanese health ministry figures, Harris said 20 health facilities had stopped functioning and another 12 were at risk of stopping.
This would affect “not only the people who have been injured during this terrible fighting, but the people who were needing treatment before”, she noted.
“It’s taking a devastating toll on the country’s children,” UNICEF spokesman James Elder told reporters.
“As long as fighting continues, children will continue to pay the price.
“The fighting means many families are trapped, with little or no access to electricity, terrified of running out of food, water and medicine.”
He said Sudan already had one of the world’s highest rates of child malnutrition, with critical life-saving care now disrupted for an estimated 50,000 severely acutely malnourished children.
“This is life-threatening,” he said.
The most critical cases are “being fed with tubes because that’s literally the only way they can be fed”, said Elder.
“When the bombing or shelling begins outside the hospital and where medical staff need to flee, then what?”
Elder also warned that the fighting was putting at risk the cold storage of more than $40 million worth of vaccines and insulin, due to the breaks in the power supply and fuel shortages.
“We need forces to immediately cease hostilities and for all parties to respect their international obligations to protect children from harm,” he said.