About 8 million children under the age of 5 are at risk of death from severe acute malnutrition. Unicef, the United Nations children’s rights organization, warns about this on the eve of the G7 summit.
Since the beginning of this year, more than a quarter of a million (260,000) more children have become seriously malnourished as a result of the global food crisis. In the 15 hardest-hit countries, such as the Horn of Africa and the Central African Republic, a child is added every minute.
“The situation is escalating,” said UNICEF director Catherine Russell. “Food aid is critical, but we cannot save severely malnourished children with sacks of wheat. We must treat these children with therapeutic nutrition now before it is too late.”
UNICEF is now expanding aid in the 15 worst-hit countries. These are Burkina Faso, Chad, Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Yemen, Afghanistan and Haiti.
To tackle acute malnutrition, UNICEF is asking for $1.2 billion in financial support ahead of the G7 meeting, which consists of seven major industrialized countries plus the European Union.