The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has warned of a dramatic global increase in malnutrition among young children as a result of the coronavirus crisis. The economic and social consequences of the pandemic could lead to an additional 6.7 million young children suffering from acute malnutrition by the end of the year, UNICEF said today.
According to the organization, an estimated 47 million children under the age of five were acutely malnourished last year. With the feared increase as a result of the pandemic, the number of children affected could reach its highest level in this millennium. Most of the children suffering from malnutrition live in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
Social consequences for children are more harmful than illness
It is now becoming clear that the economic and social impact of the pandemic harms children more than “the disease itself,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. Poverty in families is increasing, basic nutrition services and supply chains have been interrupted. Food prices have also skyrocketed. All of this means that children are fed less healthily.
According to UNICEF, children suffering from acute malnutrition are at greater risk of dying or of lagging behind in their physical and mental development. According to UNICEF, aid organizations need $ 2.4 billion to support children and mothers with nutritional programs until the end of the year.