The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has said that an estimated 10.4 million children in seven countries, including Nigeria, will suffer from acute malnutrition in 2021.
UNICEF which made the disclosure in a statement on Wednesday, cited the affected countries as Republic of the Congo (DRC), Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Sudan, South Sudan and Yemen.
“As 2021 approaches, UNICEF is deeply concerned for the health and well-being of 10.4 million children projected to suffer from acute malnutrition next year in those countries,” the statement said.
UNICEF said on going insecurity in the DRC, socio-economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic and limited access to essential services will result in an estimated 3.3 million children, under five, who will suffer from acute malnutrition next year.
In Northeast Nigeria, more than 800,000 children are expected to suffer from acute malnutrition, including almost 300,000 who are estimated to be at imminent risk of death.
According to UNICEF, the highest number of children since 2013 – some 1.4 million – will face acute malnutrition in South Sudan next year, due to on-going conflict, insecurity, as well as limited health care, water and hygiene services.
In Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, the number of malnourished children could increase by 21 per cent to a staggering 2.9 million amid conflict, displacement and climate shocks in these Central Sahel countries.
UNICEF also warned that more than 2 million children already suffer from acute malnutrition in Yemen and the figure is expected to rise in 2021.
UNICEF had earlier appealed for more 1 billion dollars from donors to support nutrition programmes for children in fragile countries in 2021.
It also urged humanitarian actors and international donors to expand access and support for aid operations.