Almost eight million children face death from 'severe wasting' amid global food crisis: UNICEF
Almost eight million children under five years old across 15 crisis hit countries could face death without “immediate" action amid a global food crisis “like no other”, according to UNICEF.
Countries at risk - whose children are reportedly in need of therapeutic food and care aid - will be covered in a UNICEF acceleration plan to avert “an explosion of child deaths”. These include Afghanistan, South Sudan, Sudan and Yemen, the United Nations' agency stated.
The agency estimates child deaths will be caused by severe wasting - “the most... lethal form of undernutrition… where children are too thin for their height". The food crisis has caused 260,000 children to suffer from this so far this year, it added,
Within the 15 countries facing risk, at least 40 million children are severely nutrition insecure and 21 million children are food insecure, according to the agency's estimates.
As world leaders gathered on Friday ahead of a G7 summit in Berlin, the UNICEF’s Executive Director Catherine Russel attended a conference for Global Food Security and appealed for $1.2 billion to avert “millions of child deaths” amid the crisis.
“From UNICEF’s perspective, it is a crisis like no other. The Covid-19 pandemic, conflicts, and climate change are creating the conditions for severe food insecurity, now exacerbated by the war in Ukraine,” Russel said at the Berlin conference.
"The scale of this crisis requires actions that go beyond the immediate humanitarian response… We cannot save starving children with bags of wheat. We need to reach these children now with therapeutic treatment before it is too late,” she said.
Russel also added that the crisis requires an investment in building “stronger, more resilient food, health, and social protection systems that all children rely on, and that help communities and countries prevent and respond to future crises”.
Russel urged that world leaders gathering for the G7 summit “have a small window of opportunity to act to save these children’s live”.
“There is no time to waste. Waiting for famine to be declared is waiting for children to die,” she said.