Over six million children malnourished in Sahel region

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A nurse measures the arm of a severely malnourished child at a clinic in North Darfur. UN Photo/Albert González Farran

Acute malnutrition continues to haunt the Sahel region of Africa where about 1.2 million children under the age of five die each year.

That's what Robert Piper, the UN Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Sahel told reporters in New York on Thursday.

He said 25 million people don't have enough food in the region which stretches between the Sahara desert to the north and the Savannah to the south and from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea.

Mr Piper said people's food stocks were low due to late rains.

"Acute malnutrition continues to haunt the region. Today, 6.4 million children are severely or moderately acutely malnourished across the region. Some 1.2 million children are estimated to die each year in the Sahel under the age of five due to various unnatural causes. About half of those deaths, almost 600,000 children under five are dying due to either malnutrition or related factors." (27")

Mr Piper said risks of cholera and yellow fever outbreaks are a constant reality in the Sahel.

He added that humanitarian workers are watching with concern and preparing for the possibility that the deadly Ebola disease could spread from West Africa.

Daniel Dickinson, United Nations

Duration: 1'23"

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