A new child suffers from severe malnutrition every minute in 15 countries, warns UNICEF

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Every minute, one more child joins the nearly eight million children under five at risk of dying from severe wasting in 15 countries affected by the hunger crisis that is ravaging them, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warned on Thursday.

Those little ones will die unless they receive food and immediate therapeutic careadded UNICEF, urging international donors, specifically the G7 member countries, to contribute 1.2 billion dollars for this purpose.

The agency’s request comes before the G7 summit.

The UN agency detailed that the growing global food crisis has added 260,000 children so far this year, or one every minuteto the total of those suffering from severe wasting in the 15 most affected countries.

UNICEF estimates that at least 40 million children are severely nutritionally insecure in those 15 countries, which means that they do not receive the minimum and diverse nutrition they need to grow and develop in early childhood.

Also, 21 million children face severe food insecuritythat is, they do not have access to enough food to meet minimum dietary needs, putting them at high risk of severe wasting.

The most visible and deadly form of malnutrition

Severe wasting is the most visible and deadly form of malnutrition. Weakening of the immune system increases the risk of death among children under 5 years of age eleven times more than among well-nourished children.

“It’s hard to describe what it means for a child to be ‘severely wasted’, but when you meet a child who is severely wasted, you understand and,” said the UNICEF Executive Director.

“World leaders gathered in Germany for the G7 ministerial meeting have a limited opportunity to act to save the lives of these children. There is no time to lose. Waiting for famine to break out is waiting for children to die.” never forgets Russell.

UNICEF recently referred to current global levels of severe child malnutrition as a “potential tinderbox”.

Russell argued that it is now being seen how the tinderbox “has created the conditions for extreme levels of childhood wasting to increase and starts to catch fire”.

Starving children are not saved by sacks of wheat

“Food aid is essential, but we cannot save hungry children with sacks of wheat. We need to reach these children right now with therapeutic treatmentbefore it’s too late,” he stressed.

UNICEF explained that the rising prices of foods, due in part to the war in Ukraine; persistent drought due to climate change in some countries, sometimes combined with conflict; and the economic repercussions of the pandemic exacerbate the food and nutrition insecurity of children around the world, leading to catastrophic levels of severe malnutrition among children under 5 years of age.

The price of ready-to-use therapeutic foods, used to treat severe wasting, has also soared by 16% in recent weeks due to a sharp increase in the cost of raw materials, putting other 600,000 children in danger of dying if they do not receive access to adequate treatment.

To respond to the emergency, UNICEF expands its operations in the 15 worst hit countries: Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Haiti, Kenya, Madagascar, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan and Yemen.

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