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UNICEF Appeals For Urgent Funding To Avert Explosion Of Child Deaths In Africa

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Tuesday called for urgent funding to help prevent an “explosion of child deaths” across the African continent, reported Reuters.

UNICEF’s Deputy Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa, Rania Dagash said more than 1.7 million children across Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia, are in urgent need of treatment as they face severe acute malnutrition.

“If the world does not widen its gaze from the war in Ukraine and act immediately, an explosion of child death is about to happen in the Horn of Africa,” Dagash told a briefing.

She said four consecutive rainy seasons have failed in the Horn of Africa, killing crops and livestock and drying up water sources. As per forecasts, the next October to December rains is likely to fail too.

Dagash added that Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia have recorded a significantly higher number of severely malnourished children admitted for treatment in the first quarter of 2022 compared to the first quarter of 2021.

The UNICEF official said Somalia has 386,000 children in urgent need of treatment for life-threatening malnutrition, numbers higher than the 340,000 children who needed treatment in 2011, a year when famine killed hundreds of thousands of people.

Dagash said the lives of children in the Horn of Africa are also at increased risk due to the war in Ukraine that has increased global food and fuel prices. Due to increasing prices, many people in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia can no longer afford the basic foodstuffs they need to survive.

She said international funding has been generous but falls short of the $250 million needed immediately.

“We have just a third of what we need this year,” the UNICEF official said.

She appealed to the international community – led by the G7 who will meet in Germany in June – to commit to new, additional funding immediately in order to save lives.

Caroline Finnegan

A professionnal journalist for the past ten years, I cover global news and economic affairs for The Chief Observer.

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