At least 13 children have died in recent weeks during a suspected measles outbreak at internal displacement camps in Sudan’s White Nile state, amid conflict between the country’s two warring factions, according to an international medical NGO Sunday.
“The situation is critical. Suspected measles and malnutrition in children are the most urgent health problems,” the Sudanese branch of Médecins Sans Frontière (MSF), or Doctors Without Borders, said.
In a series of tweets, MSF Sudan said: “Sudan’s White Nile state is receiving increasing numbers of people fleeing the conflict. Nine camps are hosting hundreds of thousands, mainly women and children.”
From June 6 to 27, the NGO treated 223 children with suspected measles in White Nile camps, it said, with 72 – including the 13 who died – admitted to two clinics it supports.
“We are receiving sick children with suspected measles every day, most with complications,” MSF Sudan tweeted.
The NGO said it had received a total of 3,145 patients to the two clinics in the month of June, adding, “as more people arrive, there’s an urgent need to increase assistance, scale up services like vaccinations, nutritional support, shelter, water & sanitation.”
“The rainy season is approaching, and we’re concerned about a rise in waterborne diseases and malaria endemic to the area,” MSF Sudan warned.
There has been a steep rise in Sudanese refugees since fighting between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) broke out on April 15. Nearly 2.8 million people have fled, according to data from IOM, the UN Migration Agency.
At least 2,152,936 people are estimated to have been internally displaced, while another 644,861 fled across Sudan’s borders into neighboring countries, according to the IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix report published Tuesday.