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Child hunger in Sudan almost doubles in six months with three in every four children affected

KHARTOUM,  27 June 2024 – The number of children in Sudan facing severe food shortages has almost doubled in six months with about 75% of children now going hungry daily as conflict drives hunger levels to record levels, raising fears of rising child malnutrition, Save the Children said.

Based on drastic new figures from the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) Partnership – the leading international authority on the severity of hunger crises – Save the Children found 16.4 million children, or three in every four children,  now face “crisis”, “emergency” or “catastrophe” levels of hunger - up from 8.3 million last December [1] [2].

Fourteen months of devastating conflict in Sudan’s crop production areas of Darfur, Kordofan, Khartoum and Al Jazirah, rising displacement and severe restrictions on humanitarian access along with a gaping hole in funding have created one of the world’s worst humanitarian disasters. The massive and worsening conflict is upending food systems, killing thousands of farmers, and leaving markets empty.

There is risk of famine in 14 locations across the country, with 755,000 people facing catastrophic levels of hunger, when households cannot meet any basic needs and have exhausted all coping strategies needed to survive, according to the IPC Partnership. Save the Children estimates that 355,605 of these will be children [3].

Dr. Arif Noor, Save the Children Country Director in Sudan, said:

“These new figures should make our blood run cold. Fourteen months of devastating conflict have turned Sudan’s breadbasket into battlefields. Hundreds of thousands of children who have managed to dodge bullets and bombs are now facing death by starvation and disease.

“Where is the collective outrage – and action - needed to tackle this travesty? It is already too late to prevent mass hunger and malnutrition. But through immediate, co-ordinated action, we can save lives – and history will judge us if we do not.”

Lack of adequate food can lead to malnutrition which, without treatment, can have long term implications on children’s health and development, and even kill, Save the Children said.

IPC figures from March showed that in just one displacement camp, almost a quarter of children (23%) were suffering from wasting – the most visible and lethal form of malnutrition [4].

The humanitarian response for Sudan is woefully underfunded, with donors contributing to just 16.8% to a $2.7 billion UN response plan [5]. On the day of a major humanitarian funding conference in Paris earlier this year, Save the Children analysis found that the amount raised for the humanitarian crisis in Sudan in the first 105 days of 2024 was less than a fifth of what was pledged in just two days to rebuild the Notre Dame Cathedral [6]

Save the Children is calling on the UK Government step-up diplomatic pressure on the warring parties to agree a ceasefire. Urgent action must also be taken to address the alarming hunger and malnutrition crisis. In the meantime, the child rights organisation is pushing for safe, unimpeded humanitarian access to civilians across border routes and fighting lines inside Sudan; the safeguarding of vital infrastructure essential for food systems, such as markets, agricultural land, and storage facilities; and immediate intervention from the international community to fully fund the Sudan Humanitarian Response Plan to save children’s lives.

Save the Children has worked in Sudan since 1983,  and is currently supporting children and their families across Sudan providing health, nutrition, education, child protection and food security and livelihoods support. Save the Children is also supporting refugees from Sudan in Egypt and South Sudan.


Notes to editor

·       The latest findings mark a stark and rapid deterioration of the food security situation compared to the previous IPC update released in December 2023.

o   Increase in the number of people in IPC Phase 3 or above from 17.7 million to 25.6 million in June - September 2024, compared to October 2023 – February 2024. This includes:

o   Increase in the number of people in IPC Phase 4 (Emergency) from 4.9M to 8.5M.

o   Surge in the population in IPC Phase 5 (Catastrophe) from zero to 755,000.

[1] To make this calculation, Save the Children applied UN data on child share of population in Sudan (47.1%) to the IPC Partnership’s figures showing 25.6 million people are facing IPC Phase 3 and above. Save the Children estimates that this amounts to 16,355,605 children, up from 8,336,700 in December.

[2] Under the IPC scale, Phase 3 is a crisis, Phase 4 is an emergency, and Phase 5 is used when the situation is reaching famine-like conditions. 

[3] To make this calculation, Save the Children applied UN data on child share of population in Sudan (47.1%) to the IPC Partnership’s figures


IPC_Alert_Sudan_March2024.pdf (ipcinfo.org)

[5] Sudan Humanitarian Response Plan 2024 | Financial Tracking Service (unocha.org)

[6] While the $2.1 billion committed by international donors at the Paris conference in April is a welcome first step, we must see these commitments turned into action immediately.

For more information please contact:  media@savethechildren.org.uk / +44(0)7831 650409