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UNICEF: 16m poorly nourished in Middle East, North Africa

October 21, 2019 at 9:58 am

Despite cholera outbreak, Yemeni kids collect garbages form piles of rubbish for recycling in Sana’a, Yemen on 1 April 2019. [Mohammed Hamoud – Anadolu Agency]

Impacted by conflicts in the region, about 16 million children are poorly nourished in the Middle East and North Africa, UNICEF revealed yesterday.

The international organisation stated that these 16 million children are “under five years old” and “do not enjoy nutritious food.”

“Despite some improvements including progress in addressing under-nutrition, overall trends in children’s nutrition have either begun to stagnate or have worsened since the year 2000 in the Middle East and North Africa,” the organisation said.

It added: “Nearly 11 million children suffer from chronic or acute malnutrition, including over 7 million stunted children and 3.7 million acutely malnourished children.”

The children suffering from acute malnutrition, the organisation said, “are 11 times more likely to die without treatment than their well-nourished peers.”

UNICEF: 92% of babies in Yemen are underweight at birth 

Most of these children are suffering from different forms of malnutrition since the start of conflicts in Syria, Yemen, Libya and Sudan.

In Yemen, an estimated 2 million children are acutely malnourished, including nearly 360,000 children under five years-old suffering from severe acute malnutrition, fighting to survive,” the report added.

Ted Chaiban, UNICEF regional director for the Middle East and North Africa, said: “Children from the poorest and most marginalised communities account for the largest share of all children suffering from malnutrition. This perpetuates poverty across generations.

“Children who are hungry are unable to concentrate in school or learn and those who are stunted have lower earning potential as adults because of developmental deficiencies.”

Solve the problem of malnutrition, UNICEF said, can only be done “through the concerted efforts of governments, the private sectors, donors, parents and key sectors including health, education, water, sanitation and hygiene and social protection.”