News / Africa

Children at Risk of Severe Malnutrition in Sahel

Africa's Sahel
Africa's Sahel

The United Nations Children's Fund warns nearly 860,000 children under age five in Africa's Sahel region are at risk of severe malnutrition. UNICEF says five countries in the Sahel are facing a food crisis because of bad harvests brought on by an ongoing drought. 

Niger is the most seriously affected country.  The United Nations Children's Fund reports nearly 380,000 children under age five are at risk of severe malnutrition because of lack of food.

But, the agency warns hundreds of thousands of children in Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Mali, and Chad are also threatened by food shortages.  

Millions of people throughout the region are suffering from the ongoing drought and crop failure.  But UNICEF Deputy Director for Emergency Operations Dermot Cartney says children are always the most vulnerable.

"We know that chronic malnutrition compromises the life of the child from the very beginning," he said.  "From the moment of conception… a child has to fight the fight to survive if the mother is suffering from acute malnutrition.  Once the child is born and begins to grow, the child needs to get access to vitamins and minerals. In these situations, unfortunately, these minerals and a proper amount of food is not available."  

Cartney says the lack of proper nutrition compromises the growth and cognitive development of the child.  

UNICEF says an estimated 859,000 children under the age of five are classified as being severely malnourished and in need of special therapeutic feeding.

UNICEF spokeswoman, Christiane Berthiaume, tells VOA her agency knows what needs to be done and is ready to provide the necessary services to treat these malnourished children.

"Now, what we need is the funds to put in place all our programs and to avoid the worst," she said. "And, we have a very short period of time.  In two months time it is going to be the peak.  That is when it is going to be really bad because people are already suffering.  Families are exhausting their stocks.  They have less and less food for the family.  They are moving.  They are taking out children from school because they are leaving their villages to try to go somewhere else to find some food."  

Berthiaume says UNICEF needs $50 million for its life-saving programs in the Sahel.  So far, she says the agency has received only half the amount needed to deal with the crisis.

You May Like

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelteri
X
Scott Bobb
July 30, 2014 8:16 PM
Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video A Summer Camp for All the World

VIDEO: During workshops and social gatherings, the Global Youth Village summer camp encourages young people to cooperate and embrace their differences, while learning to communicate with people from other countries. VOA's Deborah Block has more.
Video

Video From Cantankerous Warlock to Incorruptible Priest, 'Harry Potter' Actor Embraces Diverse Roles

He’s perhaps best known as Mad Eye Moody, the whimsical wizard in the Harry Potter franchise. But character actor Brendan Gleeson's resume includes dozens of films, and he embraces all the characters he inhabits with equal passion. In an interview with VOA’s Penelope Poulou, Gleeson discussed his new drama "Calvary" and his secret to success.

AppleAndroid