COVID-19: 4.3m Children in Nigeria at Risk of Acute Malnutrition, Says SCI

By Adedayo Akinwale

The Save the Children International (SCI), has raised the alarm that 4.3 million children in Nigeria are at risk of acute and severe malnutrition.

The SCI, in a statement that was issued yesterday by its Chief Executive Officer, Ms. Inger Ashing, stressed that 60 million children need help to survive this year.

Ashing said the SCI is launching a $769 million plan to reach 15.7 million people including 9.4 million children in 37 countries.

She noted that children were faced with a triple-threat to their rights from conflict, climate change and hunger before the advent of COVID-19 pandemic.

The SCI, therefore, called for a concerted and immediate global response in 2021 to ensure that setbacks experienced in 2020 would not permanently impact an entire generation for years to come.

She lamented that COVID-19 has put decades of progress for the world’s most vulnerable children at risk.

She also noted that children went hungry as families were plunged into poverty because the breadwinners lost their income.

Ashing pointed out that the education of more than 300 million pupils was affected by the pandemic as many schools were closed to curb the spread of the virus, which increased the risk of child abuse, exploitation, child marriage or children dropping out of school permanently.

The organisation quoted the United Nations’ report that more than 235 million people – an estimated half of them children – would need some form of humanitarian assistance this year, up from 170 million in 2020, which represents a 40 percent increase in less than a year.

The SCI said that more than half of 117.7 million children who would need life-saving support in 2021live in just eight countries, with Yemen, Ethiopia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo accounting for more than 10 million children each.

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