On Thursday, the UN issued a call for donations to help 30 million children in food crisis-affected nations who are suffering from acute malnutrition “before it is too late.”
Five UN agencies note in a joint statement that “more than 30 million children in the 15 most severely affected countries suffer from wasting, or acute malnutrition, with eight million of these children suffering from severe wasting, the most lethal form of undernutrition.”
Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Haiti, Kenya, Madagascar, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Somalia, Sudan, Sudan South, and Yemen are among the 15 nations that are impacted.
Food shortages are being made worse by skyrocketing food prices, which also make it difficult to buy basic foods at reasonable prices. According to the agencies, conflicts, climate change, and the Covid-19 pandemic have made things worse.
Qu Dongyu, director general of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), warned that “this situation is likely to deteriorate even more in 2023.”
In order to meet “the unprecedented needs arising from this deepening crisis before it is too late,” UN agencies are requesting more funding.
By intervening on all fronts—food, health, water, hygiene, and social protection systems—organizations hope to prevent, detect, and treat acute child malnutrition. Qu Dongyu emphasized the importance of making healthy food “available, accessible, and affordable.”
The action plan will apply to young children under the age of five, expectant and nursing mothers, as well as mothers and guardians of young children.
According to Catherine Russell, executive director of UNICEF, “the current cascading crises leave millions of children severely malnourished and have made it more difficult for them to access essential services.”
She continued, “Wasting is a source of suffering for the child and, in extreme circumstances, it can result in death or permanent harm to children’s growth and development.”
According to Ms. Russell, this crisis needs to be addressed with “proven solutions to prevent, detect, and treat child wasting at an early stage.”
Children who are severely undernourished have weakened immune systems and are more likely to pass away from common childhood illnesses.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Food Organization, stated that the global food crisis is also a health crisis and a vicious circle because malnutrition causes disease and disease causes malnutrition (WHO).
In order to safeguard the lives and health of children, he said, “the worst-affected countries urgently need support.”