Hundreds have been killed and displaced and residents of Khartoum are struggling to find food, water, and other basic necessities.
United Nations officials have expressed concern over the impact of the ongoing hostilities in Sudan on the country’s children, who are already suffering from the dire humanitarian situation.
“The lives, protection, and well-being of children must take precedence over combat operations, and we call on all parties to halt hostilities and to ensure full protection of all children,” Virginia Gamba, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, and Najat Maalla M’jid, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children said in a joint statement released on Wednesday.
At least 512 people have been killed in air raids and artillery attacks since fighting between Sudan’s army and the rival paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) erupted in Sudan on April 15.
Thousands have been injured and hospitals have been destroyed as residents flee the unrest, some on foot.
Gamba and Maalla M’jid called for an immediate halt to hostilities and full protection of all children in accordance with international humanitarian law.
The officials emphasised that attacks on civilian infrastructures, especially those affecting children such as schools, medical facilities, water, and sanitation systems, should be avoided.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization reported on Wednesday that only 16% of health facilities in Khartoum were operational, predicting “many more deaths” due to disease and a lack of food, water, and medical services.
The conflict has disrupted treatment for an estimated 50,000 acutely malnourished children, and the few hospitals that are still open face shortages of medical supplies, power, and water, WHO added.
The crisis has sent growing numbers of refugees across Sudan’s borders, with the UN refugee agency estimating 270,000 people could flee into South Sudan and Chad alone.
Volker Perthes, the UN representative in Sudan, told the Security Council on Wednesday that “both warring parties have fought with disregard for the laws and norms of war.”
Perthes, who has remained in Sudan, claims that they have been “attacking densely populated areas with little regard for civilians, hospitals, or even vehicles transporting the injured and sick.”
Alnour Mohammed Ahmed, who works as a builder in Khartoum, said people are struggling.
“Why didn’t the officials care for the Sudanese people and their suffering?” Ahmed told AFP.
A three-day US-brokered ceasefire between the warring generals brought some calm to the capital, but witnesses reported fresh shelling as paramilitaries claimed to have seized a major oil refinery and power plant.
Qatar has called on all parties to cease fire and urged for a peaceful solution to support regional and international efforts to resolve the crisis using diplomatic methods.
Meanwhile, Sudanese expats in Qatar and around the world have mobilised to help family and relatives back home navigate to safety as they flee the violence in Khartoum.