El Niño's "devastating impact" on children

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At the Gedebe Health Post in Halaba Special Woreda (district) in SNNP Region of Ethiopia, 28-month-old Nebila has her mid-upper-arm circumference measured by a health worker. She was diagnosed with severe acute malnutrition and has been receiving treatment including ready-to-use-therapeutic food (RUTF). Photo: UNICEF/UN022074/Ayene

Severe droughts and floods caused by the El Niño weather phenomenon continue to have what the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) has described as a "devastating impact" on young people.

A report published by UNICEF on Friday shows that East and Southern Africa are the worst hit regions where some 26.5 million children need support.

Jocelyne Sambira reports.

The 2015-2016 El Niño season has ended but its devastating impact on children is worsening, as hunger, malnutrition and disease continue to increase, UNICEF said.

According to the report It’s not over – El Niño’s impact on children in many countries, already strained resources, have reached their limits, and affected families have exhausted their coping mechanisms, such as selling off assets and skipping meals.

The UN agency said that unless more aid is forthcoming, including urgent nutritional support for young children, decades of development progress could be eroded.

East and Southern African have borne the brunt of El Niño but in many other regions, it has affected access to safe water and has been linked to increases in diseases such as dengue fever, diarrhoea and cholera.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations

Duration: 55″

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