At least 5,73,000 children under the age of five are at risk of suffering from malnutrition in Malawi, a UN spokesperson said, citing warnings from the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
Malawi is still grappling with the devastation caused by Tropical Cyclone Freddy in March, with more than 6,50,000 people currently internally displaced, including many children, Stephanie Tremblay, an associate spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, told reporters on Friday.
A new Humanitarian Action for Children appeal, launched by UNICEF on Friday, showed an increase in malnutrition cases among children in Malawi over the last five years, with the challenge accelerating significantly in recent months, Xinhua news agency reported.
“The prospect of having over half a million children suffering from malnutrition is unacceptable. Without an immediate response, the impact on these vulnerable children will be deadly,” UNICEF country representative Gianfranco Rotigliano said in a statement issued by the agency.
UNICEF said it has increased its appeal for Malawi from $52.4 to $87.7 million, in response to the urgent needs of 6.5 million people, including 3.3 million children.
According to UNICEF, the funding will be used to meet priority needs, such as ready-to-use therapeutic food for treating severe acute malnutrition, access to safe drinking water, sanitation, hygiene items and others.
“But beyond the immediate response, it is crucial that we invest in long-term solutions by strengthening systems and building resilience within communities to handle recurring outbreaks and humanitarian emergencies better,” Rotigliano added.