UN agencies seek urgent action to protect children in 15 countries

KABUL (ToloNews): Five UN agencies called for urgent action to protect the most vulnerable children in the 15 countries hardest hit by an unprecedented food and nutrition crisis.

A statement released by the World Health Organization (WHO) says that the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the World Health Organization

(WHO) are calling for accelerated progress on the Global Action Plan on Child Wasting.

“Conflict, climate shocks, the ongoing impacts of COVID-19, and rising costs of living are leaving increasing numbers of children acutely malnourished while key health, nutrition and other life-saving services are becoming less accessible,” the statement reads. “Currently, more than 30 million children in the 15 worst-affected countries suffer from wasting – or acute malnutrition – and 8 million of these children are severely wasted, the deadliest form of undernutrition.”

“The Call to Action is released by the UN organization to ask for greater attention and greater investment to address the dramatic crisis of malnutrition, which we are seeing as a result of a combination of climate shocks, conflicts, economic downturns and COVID-19, which have increased the number of malnourished children,” said Francesco Branca, Director, OOWHO Department of Nutrition and Food Safety.

According to the statement, the Global Action Plan on Child Wasting aims to prevent, detect and treat acute malnutrition among children in the worst-affected countries, which are Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Haiti, Kenya, Madagascar, Mali, the Niger, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Yemen.

Families of a number of children who face malnutrition said that they are faced with economic problems.

Asadullah, the father of a child who faces malnutrition, said he has been unable to provide sufficient food for his children due to economic problems.

“There is no good food. I am jobless. I earn 50 to 60 Afs per day,” said Asadullah.

“There is no food and other materials. The challenges are very and the weather is also cold. There is nothing to give to the children,” said a relative of a child.

According to the Ministry of Public Health, nearly 3 million children in Afghanistan were affected by malnutrition in 2022.