News / Africa

UN: One Million Children In Sahel Risk Death Or Disability

Women and children line up to receive food at a World Food Program distribution center in Mogadishu. (file photo)
Women and children line up to receive food at a World Food Program distribution center in Mogadishu. (file photo)
Lisa Schlein

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) warns an estimated one million young children in eight countries in the Sahel, who will suffer from severe acute malnutrition this year, are at risk of death or permanent disability.  UNICEF said Tuesday it urgently needs $67 million to provide special life-saving therapeutic feeding for these vulnerable children.

The United Nations warned drought and food shortages are threatening the lives and well-being of up to 23 million people in the Sahel region of West Africa. 

A spokeswoman for the U.N. Children’s Fund, Marixie Mercado, said malnourished children, especially those who suffer from severe acute malnutrition, are most at risk of disease, disability and death.

“Malnutrition contributes to around 35 percent of under-five child deaths around the world. The risk, obviously, is that with this crisis its impact will become much more severe and many more children risk dying or getting sick.  That is just malnutrition, compounded with disease, is very potentially lethal for children,” Mercado said.  

Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Niger, Mauritania, Senegal, and Cameroon have suffered from prolonged drought and lack of food over the past few decades.  The current crisis is predicted to be one of the worst.  

UNICEF reports acute malnutrition rates equal or exceed 10 percent in all these countries, with the exception of Cameroon.  The agency estimates it will need to procure almost 9,000 metric tons of ready-to-use therapeutic food for the affected countries.

It says this is enough to treat almost 650,000 young children suffering from severe acute malnutrition.  It says Niger has locally produced enough of this special food to treat its entire caseload of 330,000 young children.  

UNICEF’s Marixie Mercado says the crisis has not fully hit, so there still is time to prepare for it.  But, in order to do that, she says, UNICEF urgently needs money to be able to put the needed supplies in place before time runs out.

UNICEF has received only $9 million of the $120 million it needs for its humanitarian operations in the Sahel this year.  Of that total amount, she said $67 million is needed now to purchase ready-to-use therapeutic food or RUTF.

“We need to place orders for RUTF about six months in advance so that they can continue producing the quantities that we need in order to save lives.  If we do not have the funding immediately available, we cannot start placing orders so that production can continue at the speed and rate that pre-positioning requires,” said Mercado.  

If the money arrives late, Mercado said UNICEF will have to send the nutritional supplies by air instead of shipping them by sea.  She said the difference in price is enormous. Flying 100 metric tons of ready-to-use therapeutic food to the Sahel will cost $350,000, while moving the same amount by sea will cost $13,000.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment 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.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid