Although food aid is essential, Russell stressed that it is not enough: therapeutic treatments are needed
Photo: Mauricio Alvarado
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warned this Thursday that every minute one more child is added to the nearly eight million who are currently at risk of dying from wasting (a life-threatening malnutrition) in 15 countries around the world, affected by the hunger crisis. The wake-up call comes before the G7 summit, a group that brings together leaders of some of the world’s largest economies, to be held June 26-28 in Germany.
Among the most affected countries are 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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The UN agency asked the G7 countries to contribute 1.2 billion dollars for food and immediate therapeutic care for children at risk. “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 be declared is waiting for children to die,” said Catherine Russell, executive director of UNICEF, quoted by that agency.
Several factors influence the situation showing this panorama. According to the UN, the increase in food prices 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.
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Although food aid is essential, Russell stressed that it is not enough: therapeutic treatments are needed. But precisely many of the latter have seen their price soar by 16% in recent weeks due to a sharp increase in the cost of raw materials, placing another 600,000 children in danger of dying if they do not receive access to adequate treatment, he says. Unicef.