10,000 Child Deaths Tied to Coronavirus-Linked Hunger, United Nations Says
Over 10,000 children are dying each month from coronavirus-linked hunger, according to the United Nations.
The U.N. warned in an analysis that coronavirus-related hunger is killing children and causing malnutrition across the globe, the Associated Press reported.
“The food security effects of the COVID crisis are going to reflect many years from now,” Dr. Francesco Branca, head of nutrition at the World Health Organization, said, according to the AP. “There is going to be a societal effect.”
550,000 additional children suffer each month from wasting, a condition caused by malnourishment, which may permanently damage physical and mental growth, the AP reported. The publication noted that the year-long total of children afflicted with wasting will be up 6.7 million from the previous year’s 47 million.
The analysis found that 128,000 more children will die during the first 12 months of the virus, according to the AP. The publication emphasized that children and families across the globe are facing food shortages and spikes in food pricing, particularly in Latin America, Southern Asia, and sub-Saharan African communities.
Food prices have increased in Burkino Faso where one in five children in the country is chronically malnourished, according to the AP. 12 million of the African country’s 20 million inhabitants do not have enough to eat.
“The parents of the children are without work,” said Annelise Mirabal, who works at a foundation helping starving children in Venezuela. “How are they going to feed their kids?”
Children within the United States are also suffering from a lack of food, according to a May survey. In a Brookings Institution survey of mothers in the United States, 17.4% of mothers with children under 12 reported that their children are not getting enough food.
“This is alarming,” Lauren Bauer, a Brookings fellow in economic studies who supervised the survey, told the Times. “These are households cutting back on portion sizes, having kids skip meals. The numbers are much higher than I expected.”
Leaders at the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the World Food Program, and the Food and Agriculture Organization have asked for $2.4 billion in funds to address worldwide hunger immediately, according to the AP.
UNICEF’s nutrition program head, Victor Aguyao, warns that officials need to ease movement restrictions in order to allow families to obtain help.
“By having schools closed, by having primary health care services disrupted, by having nutritional programs dysfunctional, we are also creating harm,” Aguayo told the AP.
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