The UN World Food Program (WFP) warned on Wednesday that, according to its latest estimates, another 10 million more children worldwide could face acute malnutrition this year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, which it would leave them one step away from starvation.
This is stated by WFP in a statement published on the agency’s website, in which it maintains that the most serious form of malnutrition among children could increase by 20% as a result of the outbreak, due to the impact it is having on the most vulnerable families, who depend on daily jobs or remittances to survive.
The confinements and restrictive measures related to Covid-19, the disease causing the new virus, “are severely undermining livelihoods, exacerbating existing threats such as conflict and weak health systems, making it especially difficult for Families in the poorest nations pay for a nutritious diet, “the statement said.
WFP Director of Nutrition Lauren Landis warned that “If we do not act now, we will face devastating loss of life, health and productivity in future generations.”
“Getting the right nutrition now will determine whether the consequences of Covid-19 for children will go away for months, years, or even decades,” the statement added.
The UN agency recalls that malnourished children, especially those under the age of 5, are at risk of being among the first victims of the pandemic and its socio-economic effects, since they are more vulnerable to disease and less able to react.
Acute malnutrition is caused by inadequate food consumption or diseases – including those that cause continued diarrhea – or both, which causes a sudden loss of weight in the child that, if not treated in time, can lead to death, highlights the statement.
The UN body is ready to increase this assistance, but to do so it urgently needs “$ 300 million,” the note said.
A month ago, WFP Executive Director David Beasley warned that a “global humanitarian catastrophe” was looming globally after the spread of Covid-19 caused “the worst humanitarian crisis since World War II.”
Beasley warned that around 135 million people worldwide face “hunger crisis levels or worse”; meanwhile, the new coronavirus will add 130 million people who will be on the brink of starvation by the end of 2020.