The United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) Tuesday launched an appeal of $22 million to respond to the crisis caused by effects of El Nino weather condition.
The funds are being sought with the goal to provide children in the country access to safe water, nutrition, education, health and other protection services.
A press statement from the UN agency says this is part of the Humanitarian Action for Children (HAC) for 2017.
It says as the lean season in Malawi hits its peak, close to one million children will be affected by hunger.
“The country is still struggling to cope with the worst drought in 35 years. Despite the good rains, hunger is still widespread as families will only be able to harvest in late April,” part of the statement reads.
It further says current statistics indicate that 94 percent of children aged six months to two years are not meeting the minimum acceptable diet while 45 percent of the households are classified as having inadequate food consumption, which means they consume limited or insufficient nutritious foods.
“For the past two years, adverse weather conditions as a result of the El Nino phenomenon have exposed children to different challenges. Apart from malnutrition, we have also seen a rise in the number of children dropping out of school due to hunger-related issues,” said Unicef Malawi Deputy Representative, Roisin De Burca.
“As Unicef, we are working with partners to ensure that the rights of children in the country are not violated as they are prone to abuse under the current circumstances,” she added.
Unicef’s HAC sets out the agency’s 2017 appeal and the areas of priority for children to survive and thrive in the face of extraordinary challenges.
By December last year, Unicef Malawi had reached over one million children through mass screening for malnutrition and community mobilisation campaigns and 50,054 children were treated for severe malnutrition.
In 2017, Unicef is targeting to treat 64,826 children aged between six months and five years for severe acute malnutrition.
“Malnutrition is a silent threat to millions of children in Malawi. The damage it does is irreversible, robbing children of their mental and physical potential.
“In its worst form, severe malnutrition can be deadly and we need resources to reach out to every child in Malawi so that we identify, treat and cure the disease. No child deserves to die of malnutrition,” De Burca said.
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