Every minute another child is severely malnourished

Malnourished child in Somalia

A doctor in Mogadishu, Somalia, treats a child showing symptoms of severe protein malnutrition. The first deaths have already occurred in the region, which has been hit by a massive drought. Photo: Farah Abdi Warsameh/AP/dpa

© dpa-infocom GmbH

A powder keg that catches fire: This is how Unicef ​​Executive Director Catherine Russell describes the global famine that is currently dangerously worsening. Fast action is required.

The UN Children’s Fund warns of the G7 summit at Schloss Elmau UNICEFthat the number of children at risk of acute severe malnutrition is increasing by the minute.

Almost eight million children Unicef ​​Germany announced in Cologne that children under the age of five in 15 crisis countries were at risk of death. The worsening global food crisis has meant that the number of children with severe acute malnutrition in these particularly vulnerable countries has risen by 260,000 girls and boys since the beginning of the year. They would need to receive therapeutic food and medical attention immediately.

“We are currently experiencing a powder keg catching fire,” said Unicef ​​Executive Director Catherine Russell, who plans to take part in the German government’s international conference on global food security in Berlin on Friday. “Food aid is important, but we cannot save starving children with sacks of wheat. We must treat these children therapeutically now, before it is too late.”

The President of Unicef Germany, Georg Graf Waldersee, said: “In order to prevent such crises in the future, it is not enough to treat the symptoms alone. At the same time, the G7 must act with foresight and sustainably secure and strengthen food systems and child health care around the world.”

Rising food prices due to the war in Ukraine, prolonged droughts due to climate change and the ongoing economic impact of the corona pandemic are exacerbating food insecurity among children worldwide.

Of severe acute malnutrition according to Unicef, this is when a child is too thin in relation to its height. This is the most immediate, visible and life-threatening form of malnutrition. A weakened immune system also means that the risk of a severely acutely malnourished child dying is eleven times higher than that of a healthy child.