More than half a million children under the age of five could die of starvation in conflict zones this year, Save the Children International warned on Monday.
“4,500,000 children under the age of five will need treatment for life-threatening malnutrition this year in the most dangerous conflict zones for children,” the international organisation said.
“At the current rates, two in three of these severely malnourished children are set to miss out on vital treatment this year, with 590,000 expected to die as a result,” the organisation added.
The children rights’ organisation pointed out that around 1,600 children on average, or one child every minute, under the age of five die from extreme hunger every day.
Save the Children attributed the humanitarian threat to the fact that “humanitarian agencies grapple with chronic funding shortfalls to many United Nations emergency appeals for conflict zones, and that warring parties acting in defiance of international humanitarian law increasingly prevent supplies from reaching children in need of help.”
“Time after time we are seeing starvation used as a weapon of war when deliveries of food are obstructed by the warring parties in places like Yemen, Syria and South Sudan,” the organisation’s CEO, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, said.
The UN Children and Armed Conflict (CAAC) recently found 1,460 cases of what it described “grave violations” against children in 2017 due to the denial of humanitarian access, up from 1,014 cases in 2016.