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The New Arab Staff & Agencies

10 million children at risk of famine in 2021: Unicef

In Yemen, there are 12.4 children in need and 358,000 children are severely malnourished [Getty]

Date of publication: 1 January, 2021

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Across the world millions are at risk of acute hunger this year.
A United Nations report predicts that a record 10.4 million will suffer from malnutrition and famine across the world this year, with war-torn Yemen hit particularly hard.

The United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (Unicef) revealed in a report that children in Yemen, South Sudan, the Central Sahel, northeast Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo are particularly at risk of starvation.

"The impacts of this pandemic will be felt for years to come, but it's already clear that Covid-19 has exacerbated poverty and inequality in conflict-affected countries, adding massive pressure to already overwhelmed social and health systems," the report said.

Yemen and South Sudan in serious decline

Yemen has consistently been referred to as the "worst humanitarian crisis" in history by the United Nations. Armed conflict has led to widespread economic collapse and the deterioration of national systems and services has left millions of people displaced and in need of humanitarian assistance.

In Yemen alone there are 12.4 children in need, and 358,000 children are severely malnourished.

The arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic has worsened an already dire situation in the country.

"Earning opportunities have dried up, health services have been stretched to the limits and travel restrictions have compromised access to markets" in Yemen, Wednesday's report highlighted.

"Millions of parents are being left to make the gut-wrenching choice between food and medical care for their children."

"South Sudan is facing multiple humanitarian crises, with many parts of the country still affected by concurrent inter-communal violence, armed conflict, cyclical drought and perennial flooding," the report goes on to highlight.

"Years of conflict have resulted in displacement, increasing rates of food insecurity, limited access to quality basic health and nutrition services, and poor access to water, sanitation and hygiene.

"An estimated 1.4 million children are expected to suffer from acute malnutrition in 2021, the highest number since 2013."

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