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UNICEF Issues $1.5M Urgent Appeal For Malnourished Children In Central African Republic

UNICEF on Tuesday issued an urgent appeal for $1.5 million to provide thousands of acutely malnourished children in the Central African Republic (CAR) with “life-saving therapeutic foods, drugs and other supplies” over the next six months, VOA News reports (Schlein, 8/11).

UNICEF said about 700,000 children younger than age five in the country are suffering from severe malnutrition and warned that they are “living below acceptable standards,” Agence France-Presse writes. In a statement, the agency said recent assessments in three provinces found that 16 percent of children under five are acutely malnourished and 6.6 percent are severely acutely malnourished, which is “far above the emergency thresholds of two percent for severe acute malnutrition” (8/11).

“Poverty, ongoing insecurity, and loss of income in areas where the diamond mining sector has been impacted by the global economic slowdown are among the causes cited for this situation,” Xinhua reports. Also at 6.3 percent, the prevalence of HIV in the country is also a factor, and it affects the nutritional situation of families (8/11).

According to PANA/Afrique en ligne, Jeremy Hopkins, a UNICEF’s representative in CAR, said that in addition to providing essential food and other supplies, funds from the $1.5 million appeal will also be used for a national nutritional survey and to train community health workers to detect early children and women whose nutritional health may be at risk (8/11).