The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Friday said at least half of all children under five years of age in the Kasai region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, are suffering from acute malnutrition.
In a report released , UNICEF said the number included 400,000 children who were severely malnourished and at risk of death.
It warned that unless urgent action was taken to strengthen the humanitarian response, the number of child deaths could skyrocket in the region.
UNICEF said conflict and displacement have been major drivers of malnutrition in Kasai.
It said food insecurity in Kasai has been compounded by a sharp drop in land productivity linked to displacement which has rendered many families unable to plant and harvest their crops. In some areas, three crop seasons were missed.
UNICEF said in association with its partners, it has so far secured the release of more than 1,700 children from militias, and provided them with psychosocial support and help in reintegrating their communities.
To fund its programs for the children of Kasai in 2018, UNICEF has appealed for $ 88 million.