At this moment, children and their families in 13 countries across Africa and the Middle East are severely suffering from famine. Nigeria, South Sudan, Somalia, and Yemen are overwhelmed by violent conflict and displacement of peoples, which has left 2.5 million children at risk of imminent death. Access to food and water has been cut off from millions of children because of man-made catastrophes. United Nations officials have stated that we are facing the largest humanitarian crisis since World War II.
In Nigeria, famine spreads due to the violence inflicted by the Boko Haram insurgency. Nigerian children desperately need treatment; nearly 50,000 Nigerian children are at risk of dying from severe acute malnutrition (SAM). Since the beginning of 2017, UNICEF has provided 96,000 malnourished Nigerian children with lifesaving treatment and continues to reach more children every day despite the challenges of delivering aid.
Earlier this year, the United Nations declared famine in South Sudan where civil war, climate change, and economic collapse set off the food crisis. Due to the violence from the civil war, farmers are unable to plant and harvest crops to feed the people of South Sudan. Now food is scarce and over 270,000 children are severely malnourished. UNICEF and partners have treated over 180,000 children with severe acute malnutrition and continue to treat thousands more.
Somalia’s famine conditions are worsened by drought and decades of conflict. Nearly half of the country’s population endures food insecurity and needs humanitarian aid. Yemen has been enduring conflict for two years where over 420,000 of children are battling severe malnutrition.
UNICEF will provide treatment to 13.1 million children in these four countries by the end of 2017. The most effective way to treat SAM is through feeding children ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF). These packets contain peanuts, oil, sugar, milk powder, and necessary vitamin and mineral supplements. They are easy to ship and distribute to children suffering from SAM.
In order for UNICEF to continue treating millions of children and family members affected by the famine, the organization needs to raise significant funds. UNICEF is entirely funded by the contributions from generous donors. Every penny counts and just a few cents can help save a child’s life. Time is running out; the faster we can deliver therapeutic food, clean water, and healthcare, the more lives we can save and futures we can protect.
No child should be dying of starvation in 2017.
UNICEF USA Famine Donation Page: https://www.unicefusa.org/donate/save-children-famine/31975