Humanitarian AidCatastrophic malnutrition crisis in Zamzam camp

Catastrophic malnutrition crisis in Zamzam camp

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May 2024- In response to the escalating fighting in North Darfur, Sudan, MSF has treated over 100 war-wounded patients – including 11 children, many with gunshot wounds – at South Hospital, El Fasher, over the past two weeks.

Following the devastating results of a rapid nutrition and mortality assessment conducted by MSF in early January, a mass screening of more than 63,000 children under-five, as well as pregnant and breastfeeding women, was conducted in March and April. The results confirm that there is a catastrophic and life-threatening malnutrition crisis in Zamzam camp, North Darfur.

Despite having called urgently for support in February when the results of the rapid assessment were published, nearly three months later, MSF remains almost the only international aid agency responding to this enormous crisis – and, as a result, one of the very few able to respond to mass casualty events in El Fasher.

Of the more than 46,000 children who were screened, a staggering 30 per cent were found to be suffering from acute malnutrition – with eight per cent having severe acute malnutrition (SAM). Similar figures were found among the more than 16,000 pregnant and breastfeeding women who were screened: 33 per cent were acutely malnourished, with 10 per cent having SAM. For both groups these figures are double the emergency threshold of 15 per cent, indicating that there is a massive, life-threatening emergency in Zamzam camp.

Also Read: In Sudan, “the needs are growing by the day, but the response is deeply inadequate”

“In Zamzam camp, there is an acute disaster on a catastrophic scale,” says Claire Nicolet, head of MSF’s emergency response in Sudan. “The situation is critical, the level of suffering is immense, but despite this being known about for nearly three months, nowhere near enough has been done to help those who are struggling to survive,” she says.

The situation is dire for all residents of the camp and over the past year, it has significantly deteriorated. For the thousands of people who have become newly displaced from Nyala, Tawila and other locations where intense fighting has taken place, the situation is especially bad.

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