Severe drought, coupled with rapidly increasing food prices related to the war in Ukraine, has deepened food insecurity across the Horn of Africa — creating a child malnutrition emergency in Africa's easternmost region.
UNICEF estimates that up to 5.7 million children require treatment for acute malnutrition — with 1.8 million children at risk of severe acute malnutrition, which is life threatening.
The crisis is considered one of the worst climate change-related disasters of the past 40 years. Four consecutive failed rainy seasons decimated crops and caused abnormally high numbers of lifestock deaths and loss of livelihoods. Shortages of water and pasture have pushed families out their homes and fomented conflict between communities.
Over 1.5 million people have been displaced, at great risk to children's health, safety and well-being. Some 15 million children in the region are out of school, with another 3 million at risk of dropping out due to the drought.
UNICEF has called for support to accelerate humanitarian assistance efforts in the Horn of Africa to avert famine and child deaths.
Together with partners, UNICEF is working to reach and treat malnourished children as their numbers continue to soar. UNICEF remains the world's largest single procurer of Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF), a nutritious peanut paste and highly effective treatment for severe acute malnutrition.
UNICEF is also accelerating efforts to improve access to safe water and sanitation and strengthen delivery of primary health care services including child immunization, among other emergency interventions.
Learn how UNICEF-supported water systems are offering a lifeline to children and women in Turkana County, Kenya.
Learn how UNICEF responds to food crises globally.
Learn more about how UNICEF is working to address climate change and its impacts on children and vulnerable communities.
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