UNICEF warns of increased malnourished children in Haiti

UNITED NATIONS (CMC) — The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has warned that the number of severely malnourished children under the age of five in Haiti could more than double this year.

UNICEF also warned that some of these children could die if they do not receive timely treatment.

In addition to the novel coronavirus pandemic, UNICEF said children’s lives in the French-speaking Caribbean country have been increasingly affected by rising violence, a lack of access to nutrition services, and clean water, as well as extreme weather conditions, including hurricanes.

UNICEF has reported the disruption of health services since the global health crisis began last year, along with a sharp decline in child immunisation linked to parental concerns.

This has left less than one in 10 children in Haiti completely unvaccinated and nearly six in 10 insufficiently protected, UNICEF said.

The UN agency said the latest food insecurity data indicates that one in four Haitians is acutely hungry.

“Severe acute malnutrition can and should be treated right now to save children’s lives in Haiti,” said Jean Gough, UNICEF regional director for Latin America and the Caribbean.

“We can’t look the other way and ignore one of the least-funded humanitarian crises in the region. Without additional, urgent funding in the next few weeks, the life-saving treatment we are providing against malnutrition will be discontinued and some children will be at risk of dying.”

In 2020, UNICEF said it, along with government and partners, treated 33,372 acutely malnourished children across Haiti by providing nutrition supplies and medicines.

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