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East Africa starves: Suffers the worst malnutrition in the last 10 years

2016-02-25

It is one of the 15 poorest countries in the world and it's going through the worst famine in 9 years. In Malawi, more than 2.8 million people are at risk of starvation. Cases of severe malnutrition have increased by 100 percent in two months, from December 2015 to January 2016. It is especially serious for children.

SANGITA JACOB
UNICEF Malawi
"The whole cycle or vicious cycle of malnutrition hits the children and children become severe acute malnourished in the process, which is nine times more vulnerable to death and also it is the life threatening part of malnutrition, so it's cause of concern for Malawi.”

El Niño, an extreme weather phenomenon, is the cause of this famine. It consists of a warming of Pacific waters and it can produce heavy rainfall and cold spells in some areas, and droughts and heat waves in others.

Rogerio Bonifacio, 
WFP Climate Analyst:
"Its effects, however, will be felt all the way to early 2017 and its effects have been widespread geographically. El Niño has caused impacts on the growing seasons of Central America and Haiti, Ethiopia, where it registered one of the driest seasons in the past 50 years.”

In Eastern and Southern Africa, two years of erratic rainfall and drought have led to this situation. It is estimated that there are over one million children affected in countries like Malawi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Zimbabwe and Tanzania.

In total, there are over 50 million people threatened by the famine, meanwhile international solidarity remains largely absent. The UN estimates that 155 million dollars is necessary to fight the famine. So far, it has only received just over 23.


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