….UNICEF appeals for for K117bn to save Malawis children
At least 573,000 children under the age of five are at risk of suffering from malnutrition in Malawi, a United Nations spokesperson said on Friday, citing warnings from the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
Malawi is still grappling with the devastation caused by Tropical Cyclone Freddy in March, with over 650,000 people currently internally displaced, including many children, Stephanie Tremblay, an associate spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, told reporters.
A new Humanitarian Action for Children appeal, launched by UNICEF Friday, showed an increase in malnutrition cases among children in Malawi over the last five years, with the challenge accelerating significantly in recent months.
“The prospect of having over half a million children suffering from malnutrition is unacceptable. Without an immediate response, the impact on these vulnerable children will be deadly,” UNICEF country representative Gianfranco Rotigliano said in a press release issued by the agency.
UNICEF said it has increased its appeal for Malawi from 52.4 million U.S. dollars to 87.7 million dollars, in response to the urgent needs of 6.5 million people, including 3.3 million children.
According to UNICEF, the funding will be used to meet priority needs, such as ready-to-use therapeutic food for treating severe acute malnutrition, access to safe drinking water, sanitation, hygiene items and others.
“But beyond the immediate response, it is crucial that we invest in long-term solutions by strengthening systems and building resilience within communities to handle recurring outbreaks and humanitarian emergencies better,” said Rotigliano.
The UN body appealed for a new approach to reduce child malnutrition.
During the first quarter of 2023, UNICEF said it assisted the Malawian authorities in screening more than 140,300 under-fives for acute malnutrition. Of this number, 522 children were identified as severe acute, and were referred to health facilities for further care.
“Without increased support, poor and vulnerable households with children will be left without access to basic services, essential supplies, and social assistance,” Mr. Rotigliano warned.
He also underscored the need to look beyond the immediate response, saying “it is crucial that we invest in long-term solutions by strengthening systems and building resilience within communities to handle recurring outbreaks and humanitarian emergencies better.”