In advance of this year’s Group of Seven (G7) summit, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) issued a funding appeal on Thursday to address the urgent needs of 8 million children who are at risk of dying from chronic undernourishment.
According to a news release from UNICEF, unless they receive immediate therapeutic food and treatment, nearly 8 million children under the age of five in 15 crisis-affected countries face the risk of dying from severe wasting, the most obvious and deadly type of undernutrition.
UNICEF cited that since the beginning of 2022, the growing global food crisis has pushed an additional 260,000 children, or one child every 60 seconds, to suffer from severe wasting in 15 nations bearing the brunt of the crisis, warning that the number is increasing by the minute.
Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Haiti, Kenya, Madagascar, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, and Yemen are among the 15 most impacted nations.
acute wasting For their height, youngsters are too short. When compared to children who are well fed, children under the age of five who have severe wasting have a death risk that is up to 11 times higher due to weakened immune systems.
“Food help is essential, but bags of wheat won’t save starving children. Before it’s too late, we need to provide these kids with therapeutic care, Catherine Russell, UNICEF’s executive director, said in a press release.
The price of ready-to-use therapeutic food to treat severe wasting has soared by 16 percent in recent weeks due to a sharp rise in the cost of raw ingredients.
In order to prevent what might be millions of child fatalities in the 15 countries with the highest burden, UNICEF said it is requesting 1.2 billion US dollars. This includes prevention initiatives to safeguard maternal and child nutrition among expectant mothers and young children.
The UN agency stated that it also seeks funding to prioritize the prevention and treatment of severe wasting in all global food crisis response plans by making sure budget allocations include therapeutic food to meet the immediate needs of children suffering from severe wasting in addition to preventive nutrition interventions.
According to Russell, there is “a limited window of opportunity” for leaders meeting in Germany for the G7 summit to take action to save the lives of the youngsters who are suffering from severe wasting.
“Time is of the essence. The head of UNICEF remarked, “Waiting for famine to be proclaimed is waiting for children to perish.