The World Health Organization says it is sending 100,000 malaria treatments to the west African country of Niger where peak malaria season has hit amidst a severe food shortage.

The U.N. health agency says that under ordinary conditions in Niger, malaria is responsible for 50 percent of all deaths of children under five.

But it says the situation has been compounded this year by the hunger crisis, brought on by drought and a locust invasion last year that damaged harvests.

U.N. health officials say malnutrition makes children more likely to die from malaria. They say hunger also makes malaria harder to diagnose because it makes symptoms more difficult to recognize.

The WHO says some 200,000 children in Niger are at risk of malnutrition during the peak malaria season, which runs through October.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.