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Children in a South African township await food assistance Children in a South African township await food assistance  (AFP or licensors)

Covid-19: 67,000 African children risk death from starvation before end of year

A new report by Save the Children warns that tens of thousands of vulnerable children in Sub-Saharan Africa are at risk of dying by the end of 2020 from extreme hunger due to circumstances compounded by Covid-19.

By Vatican News 

Even before the pandemic, warns “Save the Children”, Sub-Saharan Africa was one of the most food-insecure regions globally; and if current trends continue, it is expected to be home to more than half of the world’s chronically hungry.

A just-released report by the international charity claims that “an estimated 67,000 children are at risk of dying from extreme hunger across Sub-Saharan Africa before the end of the year,”

426 children risk death every day

The analysis drawn up by the charity indicates that an average of 426 children per day are at risk of death unless urgent action is taken.

The report points out that food insecurity has been compounded by a series of shocks this year in parts of the continent: “from floods, swarms of locusts and soaring food prices to displacements.”

The impact of Covid-19, Save the Children says, has added to these factors, “crippling economies and destroying livelihoods, rendering food and health services unaffordable or unavailable.”

“By 2030, it is predicted that an estimated 433 million people will be undernourished across Africa,” the report claims.

Pandemic exacerbating dire situations

Even before the pandemic, the effects of severe malnutrition threatened to undermine the health, the growth and even the lives of over 26 million children across east and southern Africa.

The report also highlights the situation in west and central Africa, where “15.4 million children under five are expected to suffer from severe acute malnutrition this year: a 20% increase from earlier estimates.”

Save the Children’s Regional Director, Ian Vale, says the pandemic is wreaking devastation on some of the world’s hungriest people as coronavirus prevention measures “have decimated livelihoods and crop production, jobs have dried up, and food is becoming increasingly expensive.”

Appeal

He urgently asks for immediate humanitarian assistance to save children’s lives before it is too late.

In an appeal to support some of the most deprived children in the world, Save the Children has launched a campaign for funding as it responds to the crisis by providing food or cash to vulnerable families, ensuring access to safe and clean water and continuing its health and nutrition services in a “Coronavirus-safe way.” 

01 September 2020, 18:10