UNICEF sounds alarm over child nutrition crisis in Mali

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At the Bellafarendi Health Center, Azaharatou Dicko gives UNICEF-supplied ready-to-use therapeutic food to her daughter, Farimata Dicko, 13 months, who suffers from severe acute malnutrition. WHO/Harandane Dicko

A deepening "nutrition crisis" in conflict-affected areas in Mali is putting the lives and futures of thousands of children at risk.

The warning by the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) follows new data published on Monday which shows acute malnutrition among under-fives has reached "critical levels" in the cities of Timbuktu and Gao.

Ana Carmo reports.

Violence and instability over the past five years, particularly in northern Mali, have led to displacement and a disruption of social services, affecting the most vulnerable girls and boys.

UNICEF estimates that 165,000 children across the West African nation are expected to suffer from severe acute malnutrition next year.

The condition is characterized by grave muscle wasting and very low weight for height.

Children suffering from severe acute malnutrition are nine times more likely to die from disease because their immune systems are weakened, according to UNICEF.

Ana Carmo, United Nations.

Duration:  0’36″

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