Some 1.8 million children have been affected by a three-year conflict in Darfur, according to the U.N. Children's Fund (UNICEF), where they risk being recruited to fight and are especially vulnerable to disease and malnutrition.
"It is a traumatised population and you can see it in the children's faces," said Hollywood actress and UNICEF goodwill ambassador Mia Farrow, who last month visited camps for some of the 2.5 million displaced by Darfur's war.
"Everyone has lost family, seen villages burn, seen relatives raped, been raped."
U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres - who selected Congo, Uganda and the Sudan/Chad border, where some 200,000 refugees from Darfur eke out an existence - pointed to the physical and psychological consequences of living in crowded, underfunded camps "which are not conducive for a healthy child development".
In southern Sudan, children also suffer the effects of low-level violence, poverty and a lack of basic services. The region is struggling to recover from a 21-year civil war with the north that killed 2 million people, as 600,000 refugees forced to flee the country trickle home.
AlertNet, a humanitarian news website run by Reuters Foundation, asked 112 aid experts and journalists to highlight the world's most dangerous places for children.
After Sudan, they chose northern Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Somalia, India, the Palestinian territories, Afghanistan, Chechnya and Myanmar - with the top three clearly ahead.
More than 2 million children worldwide have died as a direct result of armed conflict in the past decade, and about 20 million have been forced to flee their homes, according to UNICEF. More than a million have been orphaned or separated from their families.
Every day thousands of children pick up a gun and go to war. Others trudge miles in the searing heat to look for water and food. Some have to do both.
This factfile highlights the most dangerous places in the world to be a child as judged by a Reuters AlertNet poll of humanitarian workers and journalists.
The three worst places are all in Africa where war and drought has brought death, disease and displacement to millions.
But not all the regions named are ravaged by conflict. India is ranked sixth - reasons given include poverty, malnutrition and child labor.
Sudan, Uganda and Congo are the world's three most dangerous places for children due to wars that have brought death, disease and displacement to millions, a Reuters AlertNet poll showed on Tuesday.
Around half of respondents picked Sudan as one of their three choices, with many singling out the troubled western region of Darfur. Some 1.8 million children have been affected by a three-year conflict in Darfur, according to the U.N. Children's Fund (UNICEF), where they risk being recruited to fight and are especially vulnerable to disease and malnutrition.