In this Oct 3, 2017 photo, Afghan children suffering from severe malnutrition lay on a bed as they receive treatment at a hospital in Kandahar province. (JAVED TANVEER / AFP)
GENEVA — The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) on Friday warned that in Afghanistan, the nutritional situation of children is alarming, with 2 million children under the age of five years suffering from acute malnutrition, among them 600,000 suffering from severe acute malnutrition.
According to the UNICEF, a child with severe acute malnutrition is 11 times more likely to die than their healthy peers
Christophe Boulierac, for the UNICEF, told a press briefing here Friday that Afghanistan is one of the countries with the highest numbers of children under the age of five suffering from severe acute malnutrition, alongside Yemen and South Sudan.
In 2018, he said, UNICEF, who is the sole provider of ready-to-use therapeutic food for malnourished children in Afghanistan, could only target less than 50 percent of severely malnourished children due to limited supplies.
For 2019, the spokesperson added, the plan is to reach 60 percent of them.
"However, we will not reach them if we do not get within three weeks the required funding of US$7 million (equivalent to 107,000 cartons of ready-to-use therapeutic food)," he noted.
"Any child suffering from severe acute malnutrition is a crisis and needs to be treated to survive," he stressed.
According to the official, a child with severe acute malnutrition is 11 times more likely to die than their healthy peers.
In response to questions from journalists, Boulierac said that 2019 marked 40 years of conflict in Afghanistan, and the situation had become particularly challenging in 2018 as a result of a spike in violence and an unprecedented drought.
HONG KONG NEWS