Press Release

Statement by UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Natalia Kanem as war in Sudan reaches on year mark

13 April 2024

Famine is bearing down as war in Sudan reaches one year mark

Famine is bearing down on the women and girls of Sudan as the deadly conflict reaches its one year mark. The war has triggered one of the world’s worst hunger crises, with 1.2 million pregnant and breastfeeding women facing acute malnutrition, robbing them and their newborns of health and potentially even life.

In the three hardest-hit areas of Darfur, Khartoum and Kordofan, more than 7,000 new mothers will die of famine in the coming weeks if they cannot access emergency assistance.

Armed men have shown a total disregard for human life, perpetuating heinous acts of sexual violence as they wage a war on the bodies of women and girls. Just when women need health and protection services the most, these services have all but broken down in conflict-affected areas.

This is the scourge of war on women and girls: extreme food insecurity, the horror of sexual violence, uncertainty and fear. This climate of fear has driven the world’s largest internal displacement crisis with 6.6 million displaced inside Sudan, and a further 2 million forced to flee to neighbouring countries.

Amid this suffering, UNFPA is working with partners to deliver reproductive health services to women and girls in need and to prevent and respond to gender-based-violence. Our medical and protection teams are running 33 mobile clinics and 64 safe spaces across the country. Along with other aid agencies, we are desperately trying to scale up further, but we need safe, unimpeded humanitarian access to do so.

We must stop the suffering of the Sudanese people. Pregnant women and new mothers need urgent help now.

We call for an end to the destruction and looting of civilian infrastructure, including health facilities and equipment.

We need to hold perpetrators of sexual violence to account for their crimes so that justice can be served.

We call on partners to fully fund the humanitarian response plan in Sudan so that we can bring a glimmer of hope to women, girls and their families.

Women and girls in Sudan have already endured too much. To bring an end to their suffering, what they need more than anything is peace.

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United Nations Population Fund

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