Geneva, Jun 7 (EFE).- If the world does not “widen its gaze” from the war in Ukraine, an explosion of child deaths in the Horn of Africa will be imminent, the United Nations warned on Tuesday.
“I am here today to tell you plainly that, if the world does not widen its gaze from the war in Ukraine, and act immediately, an explosion of child deaths is about to happen in the Horn of Africa,” UNICEF’s Deputy Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa, Rania Dagash, told reporters in Geneva.
Over 1.7 million children across Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia are in urgent need of treatment for severe acute malnutrition, according to the UN.
In Somalia, the number of children facing this most deadly form of malnutrition has increased by more than 15% in just five months, Dagash said.
Death rates have also increased, with three times as many children having already died from severe acute malnutrition this year compared to last year.
“Focus on Ukraine cannot lead to neglect of other crises and ultimately more loss of life,” Dagash said.
“The international community — led by the G7 who will meet in Germany in June — needs to commit new, additional funding now to save lives,” she urged.
Dagash added that the war in Ukraine was exacerbating rising global food and fuel prices and that many people in the Horn of Africa were no longer able to afford the basic foodstuffs they needed to survive.
Before the war, Somalia alone used to import 92% of its wheat from Russia and Ukraine, but supply chains have been blocked.
“I heard of children being buried along the roadside as their families make desperate, long treks to seek help.
“And we fear the worst is just around the corner.” EFE