Nearly a million children in Africa's Sahel face 'severe wasting', UN says
"An estimated 970,000 children under 5 from West Africa's three central Sahel countries (Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger) will face severe wasting this year", the UN children's agency said in a statement.
The three countries are poor, landlocked and fighting jihadist insurgencies. Niger is expected to face the highest burden, with 430,000 children estimated to be affected, a 14 percent decrease on the 2022 total thanks to government efforts.
In Mali, 367,000 children are forecast to face severe wasting, up more than 18 percent from last year.
"Growing insecurity and conflict means vulnerability is increasing in the region, and it is getting harder to help communities in isolated areas," UNICEF Regional Director for West and Central Africa, Marie-Pierre Poirier, said in the statement.
It called on governments to put child nutrition "high on national priority agendas" and boost national investments in the early prevention, detection and treatment of child malnutrition.