Unicef: Acute malnutrition surges in Somalia children

Some 1.4 million children in drought-hit Somalia are projected to suffer acute malnutrition this year, the UN Children’s Fund said.

A severe drought is threatening famine in Somalia, where the UN estimates 5.5 million people at risk. Young girls line up at a feeding centre in Mogadishu. Picture: United Nations Photo

GENEVA - Some 1.4 million children in drought-hit Somalia are projected to suffer acute malnutrition this year, 50% more than estimated in January, the UN Children’s Fund (Unicef) said on Tuesday.

The new figure includes more than 275,000 children potentially facing a life-threatening severe acute form of malnutrition, who are nine times more likely to die of cholera or measles, Unicef spokesperson Marixie Mercado said.

“The combination is deadly for children,” she told a news briefing.

Unicef has treated 56,000 Somali children for the most severe form of malnutrition since the beginning of year, an increase of 88% over last year, she added.