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Immediate Action Required in Response to High Death Rates and Malnutrition Crisis in North Darfur, Sudan

Emergency malnutrition thresholds have been reached at Zamzam camp, where an estimated one child dies every two hours. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is urgently calling for a mass mobilisation of the international community to save lives.

An assessment carried out by MSF has revealed a catastrophic situation in Zamzam camp, North Darfur, since the conflict in Sudan began in April 2023.

All emergency thresholds for malnutrition have been reached, and MSF is urgently calling for a coordinated and rapid scale-up of the humanitarian response to save lives.

The action of UN agencies and international NGOs is vital for achieving this, with food and cash distributions, healthcare, and water and sanitation provision urgently required.

Among children aged six months to two years old, nearly 40% were found to be malnourished, with 15% having severe acute malnutrition (SAM). The emergency threshold for malnutrition is two per cent, indicating a serious emergency situation in Zamzam camp.

The total number of deaths in the camp per day was also cause for alarm, with a crude mortality rate of 2.5 per 10,000 people per day, more than double the emergency threshold. To prevent further imminent loss of life, MSF will rapidly increase our response in the camp to provide treatment for children in critical condition.

MSF is the only operational health provider in Zamzam camp, and the clinic is overwhelmed by the high number of patients and the severity of their condition.

Before the conflict, people in the camp relied heavily on international support for food, healthcare, and clean water, but they have now been almost completely abandoned. Conditions in the camp are atrocious, with no healthcare apart from the MSF clinic, and no clean water supply.

With usual peak malnutrition months on the horizon, MSF is expecting the already enormous number of cases to drastically increase over the coming months. The aid that once supported the health system in North Darfur is now severely hampered, with road and air supply routes cut off.

MSF is currently the only large international organization providing free pediatric medical care across all five Darfur states, and there is an urgent need for a massive mobilization of the international community to prevent further suffering.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Médecins sans frontières (MSF).

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