For the first time in decades, malnutrition and child hunger is on a rise with more than 5.7 million children under five on the brink of starvation across the world. Apart from this, 13 million children under 18 are facing extreme food shortages, said Save The Children, a global organisation.
The organisation said that COVID-19, conflicts, and climate change pushed hunger and malnutrition levels to a record global high. The Global organisation called for urgent action or the world would see thousands of children starving to death.
They said that hunger levels in Syria rose by 56 per cent between 2019 and 2020. Two in three people in Syria needed food or livelihood support. Similarly, Burkina Faso and Yemen saw hunger levels rising by almost ten percent. The organisation said that almost one in two children under five (about 3.1 million children) in Afghanistan faced acute malnutrition and need life-saving treatment.
Save the Children CEO Inger Ashing said that Covid 19 along with floods, droughts, storms and wars deeply affected harvests, livestock, food prices and people’s livelihoods. “But in today’s world, where there is enough food to feed every child and adult if we distribute it fairly, it is outrageous that millions face malnutrition and starvation. We have an opportunity to save many of these children, but we need to act now,” Ashing said.
The Save The Children said that they are launching the largest ever appeal in its history, aiming to raise 130 million dollars in the coming months. The organisation gave the appeal after the data from the Integrated Phase Classification showed that children are at a higher risk of starvation and malnutrition.
According to the analysis:
- Democratic Republic of Congo has the highest number of 1.1 million children under five who are facing emergency levels of food shortages:
- In Yemen, almost 700,000 children under five face critical food shortages and in Afghanistan, almost half a million children are facing extreme hunger.
- A further 150 million children will be pushed to poverty by the end of 2021.
Save the Children organisation said that apart from famine and hunger, several children die from diseases like pneumonia, Malaria and diarrhoea. The organisation said that these diseases were preventable if world leaders and humanitarian organisations act swiftly.
Stating that there was no vaccine for hunger, Ashing noted, “But there is a solution if we act now. Governments have to step up, honour their commitments, and do their part before it becomes a death sentence for so many children and adults.”
The organisation called on governments to fully fund humanitarian response plans and support social protection schemes and health and nutrition services for children. This includes treatment of acute malnutrition. “We’re urging donors to prioritise humanitarian cash and voucher assistance for families, and to prioritise the increased risks of violence—particularly gender-based violence—caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The organisation also urges influential governments to push for humanitarian access in all contexts, so all children can receive the support they need,” she said.
Save The Children stressed that the international community must address the root causes of food and nutrition insecurity to put an end to global hunger and malnutrition crisis.