By Sharon Atieno

The armed conflict between Sudan’s national army and their rival, the Rapid Support Forces has led to the displacement of more than two million children, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) says.

The war which started in April has tremendously affected Darfur and Khartoum regions and is spreading to other populated areas, including in South and West Kordofan states, hampering aid delivery and access to people in urgent need.

This follows a previous warning by the agency that 14 million children in Sudan are in dire need of humanitarian support, noting that many of these boys and girls are facing multiple threats and terrifying experiences every day.

“The urgency of our collective response cannot be overstated,” said Mandeep O’Brien, UNICEF Country Representative in Sudan.

“We are hearing unimaginable stories from children and families, some of whom lost everything and had to watch their loved ones die in front of their eyes. We said it before, and we are saying it again: We need peace now for children to survive.”

UNICEF added that with the beginning of the rainy season, many houses have been destroyed by floods, displacing growing numbers of families. The season also raises the risk of diseases such as Rift Valley fever, Chikungunya and Dengue.

Currently, nearly 9.5 million children in Sudan lack access to safe drinking water, and 3.4 million under-fives are at high risk of diarrhoeal diseases and cholera.

According to the organization, disease outbreaks, including measles, are resurfacing, with reported associated deaths, in areas facing high internal displacement and stretched health systems, such as the Blue and White Nile states.

The “lethal combination” of measles and malnutrition is putting young lives at a very high risk unless urgent action is taken, UNICEF said.

The UN agency is urgently seeking $400 million over the next 100 days to scale up support in Sudan.

Staff have been providing education, protection, health, water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services to over four million children, mothers, and families across the country since the war broke out.