More than a month after famine was declared in South Sudan, time is running out for more than a million children as drought and armed conflict devastate lives in northeast Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen, UNICEF Communication Officer, Samuel Kaaalu, stated.
He said that about 22 million children have been left hungry, sick, displaced and out of school in the four countries.
According to him, nearly 1.4 million are at imminent risk of death this year from severe malnutrition.
Contributing, Manuel Fontaine, UNICEF Director of Emergency Programmes, said, “Children can’t wait for yet another famine declaration before we take action.
“We learned from Somalia in 2011 that by the time famine was announced, untold numbers of children had already died. That can’t happen again.”
UNICEF will require close to $255 million to provide these children with food, water, health, education and protection services for just the next few months, according to a new funding update.
Most of the funds – over $81 million – will go towards nutrition programmes to screen children for malnutrition and provide them with therapeutic food.
An additional $53 million will be allocated to health services including vaccinations, while over $47 million will go to water, sanitation and hygiene programmes to prevent potentially deadly diahorreal diseases.
The remaining funds will help protect children affected by conflict and displacement and provide them with education services. Cash assistance will also be offered to the most vulnerable families.