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Reference : V-F-CR-F-03672-N
Date : 16/06/2023
Country/Region : SUDAN
Title : Sudan : deaths of orphans underscore war’s danger and need for long-term support
Duration : 00:03:21
Cameraman : AHMED, Ali Ahmed Ali
Editor : COOK-PELLEGRIN, Kathryn
Confidentiality level : public
Publication restrictions : publication without restrictions
Copyright : ICRC
Production company : ICRC
ICRC producer :
Description : Some 300 children that were evacuated from a Khartoum orphanage a week ago - on June 7th, 2023 - are recovering in relative safety in the city of Wad Madani. However, the six weeks they endured prior to their escape were nothing short of traumatic.

In addition to losing staff who fled the fighting, the orphanage suffered from a lack of food, water and electricity. Critical infrastructure was damaged due to the fighting, and the loss of power proved fatal for many children who were particularly vulnerable, suffering from severe health conditions.

“Of course, human resources are a primary element, but the fact is, more children were lost as a result of power outages than due to food shortages,” explained Abeer Abdullah, one of the 70 orphan caregivers, from a shelter where the orphans and staff were relocated. “During those outages, high temperatures had a deadly toll on children. It was such a tough period when our lives were at great risk. You know, cooking and preparing meals and milk for children largely depends on electricity.”

The children have stayed for six weeks in the capital city, just 800 meters from the frontlines.

“Children with disabilities are among the most impacted by conflict,” Abdullah said. “I had a horrible experience that keeps haunting me. I remember one day the children were not with me at the clinic. When I came out at the yard, they rushed to me, terrified and trembling, as I was the only person they knew there. Once I took them in, they lied on the floor trying to sleep their horrors off. They seemed seized by panic, and the moment they sensed some safety in my company, they’d try to get an hour’s rest.”

Some of the evacuated children suffer from mental health conditions, which could be exacerbated by the stressful conflict environment they were living in.
On June 7, the ICRC facilitated the evacuation following the request from the Ministry of Social Development, and in close coordination with the Ministry of Health. As a neutral intermediary, it obtained security guarantees from the parties to the conflict to ensure safe passage for the children and the orphanage staff. Upon arrival in Wad Madani, the children were transferred to the custody of the Ministry’s personnel.
Since fighting broke out in Sudan on April 15, the ICRC has been closely cooperating with the Sudanese Red Crescent Society to deliver surgical supplies to hospitals, help collect and identify mortal remains, and improve access to clean water. The two organizations have also supported families who lost contact with their loved ones. In addition, the ICRC has maintained dialogue with all the parties to facilitate medical evacuations of wounded people and remind them of their obligations under the norms of international humanitarian law.

Original language : International soundtrack
English title : Sudan : deaths of orphans underscore war’s danger and need for long-term support
Colour/B&W : colour
Resolution : 1920 x 1080
Aspect ratio : 16/9
Original material/format : H264
Best material/format available : ProRes 422