One million children suffering from severe malnutrition in Africa

Un Malawien transportant de la nourriture distribuée par le programme alimentaire mondial des Nations Unies.

A Malawian carrying food distributed by the World food program of the United Nations Photo credits:. MIKE HUTCHINGS / REUTERS

UNICEF issues an alarming report about the impact of the driest rainy season in the last 35 years in Africa.

The United Nations fund for Children said Wednesday that nearly a million children suffer from severe malnutrition in east Africa and Southern Africa. A consequence of the drought currently affecting the continent and is expected to worsen due to El Niño. This climatic phenomenon that knows this year strong intensity, jeopardizes the plantations that have thus started a two-month delay in some countries. Corn crops are suffering, especially by raising prices by 73% in Malawi. Lesotho, Zimbabwe and several South African provinces have declared a state of natural disaster.

the regional Director of UNICEF for east Africa and Southern Africa, Leila Pakkala-Gharagozloo, believes that “governments respond with available resources, but (that) it is a situation without precedent.” Children are at risk of hunger, water shortages and diseases such as cholera. Unicef ​​said that severe malnutrition is responsible for most deaths of children under five in the world.

The World Food Programme has also sounded the alarm Monday, announcing 49 million people in the region need assistance in coming years. In Malawi, for example, severe malnutrition jumped 100% between December 2015 and January 2016. In Ethiopia, the number of people expected to need food aid is likely to increase from 10 million to 18 million by the end of 2016. UNICEF estimates that Ethiopia needs $ 87 million donation.

According to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs of the UN, it would take two years to affected countries to recover from drought, if agricultural conditions improve in the second half of the year. In the shorter term, the rainy season normally ends in April, then giving way to five-month dry season. These forecasts suggest entrevoire a worsening of the situation by the end of the year.

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