Six NGOs working for child protection, including Save the Children International and World Vision, have warned that 8 million children are at risk of dying in at least 15 countries from famine.
In the face of an “unprecedented” hunger crisis, the NGOs have appealed to the international community to pay attention to the “devastating” consequences of famine on children in countries such as Afghanistan, Yemen, Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Mali, Nigeria, Somalia or South Sudan.
“If we do not act now, the consequences of this hunger crisis will have devastating and lifelong repercussions on children’s health, nutrition, education, protection and survival,” said Save the Children International Director Inger Ashing.
With 50 million people living at catastrophic levels of acute hunger, the NGO said the international community has “a collective responsibility to ensure that urgent action is taken to prevent the deaths of hundreds of thousands of children”.
“Organizations working directly with children, families and communities around the world see the devastating effects of conflict, the climate crisis, COVID-19 and the aftermath of the war in Ukraine on a daily basis,” Ashing said.
He also warned of the danger to girls in particular, as they may be subjected to child, early and forced marriage, early pregnancy, dropping out of school or being sexually exploited and abused. “When food is scarce, girls and women often eat less and last,” she recalled.
Save the Children has indicated in a statement that “food security is not a privilege, but a right enshrined in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” so “international leadership and political will must drive both an immediate response and address the root causes of hunger.”