Additional 6.7 mn children under 5 could suffer from hunger due to COVID-19: UNICEF
NEW DELHI :
AN additional 6.7 million children under the age of five across the world could suffer from wasting this year due to the socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the UNICEF warned on Tuesday. According to the UNICEF, in India, there are still around 20 million children under five years of age who are suffering from wasting. According to the Global Hunger Index 2019, wasting among children in India rose from 16.5 per cent in 2008-2012 to 20.8 per cent in 2014-2018.
Wasting is a life-threatening form of malnutrition, which makes children too thin and weak, and puts them at greater risk of dying, poor growth, development and learning. According to the UNICEF, even before the COVID-19 pandemic, 47 million children were already wasted in 2019. An additional 6.7 million children under the age of five could suffer from wasting and therefore become dangerously undernourished in 2020 as a result of the socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the UN children’s agency said. “Without urgent action, the global number of children suffering from wasting could reach almost 54 million over the course of the year. This would bring global wasting to levels not seen this millennium,” it said.
Quoting an analysis of the Lancet, the UNICEF said 80 per cent of these children would be from sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. “Over half would be from South Asia alone,” it said here on Tuesday. It said the Lancet analysis finds that the prevalence of wasting among children under the age of five could increase by 14.3 per cent in low and middle-income countries this year due to the socio-economic impact of COVID-19. Hunger to kill 128K more children over pandemic’s first year CORONAVIRUS and its restrictions are pushing already hungry communities over the edge, killing an estimated 10,000 more young children a month as meager farms are cut off from markets and villages are isolated from food and medical aid, the UN warned on Monday.
In the call to action shared with ‘The Associated Press’ ahead of publication, four UN agencies warned that growing malnutrition would have long-term consequences, transforming individual tragedies into a generational catastrophe. More than 5,50,000 additional children each month are being struck by what is called wasting, according to the UN — malnutrition that manifests in spindly limbs and distended bellies. Over a year, that’s up 6.7 million from last year’s total of 47 million.