Save the Children International (SCI) has warned that more than 1.5 million children under five in Burkina Faso face a nutrition crisis.

Violence has displaced hundreds of thousands of people, worsening the plight of children, with the eastern and central-northern regions of the country among the worst affected.

The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) had raised concerns in January 2021 that acute food insecurity increased by 167 percent in Burkina Faso, compared with the five-year average.

UNICEF urged humanitarian actors on the ground and the international community to urgently provide support for children and families.

The humanitarian organisation said it had helped more than 170,000 children over the past year, including those living in displacement camps.

‘Out of fear of being attacked or recruited by armed groups, many adolescents and men cannot work if that involves travelling beyond their communities’, SCI said in a statement.

According to the UN, more than $600 million is needed to meet the growing humanitarian needs in Burkina Faso. In the first three months of 2021, only 3.7 percent of this budget has been covered.

For specific nutrition needs, only $2.8 million out of $46.4 million has been secured, leaving a huge funding gap, according to SCI.

‘We must focus on malnourished children, as their well-being, their futures or sometimes even their lives are at risk’, the Interim Country Director, Save the Children Burkina Faso, Eric Hazard, said.

‘Growing insecurity and the impact of climate change compounds the problem by disrupting food production and household economies.

‘The situation is forcing hundreds of thousands of people to move to other communities to live with host families that are already living in difficult conditions themselves. Meaning there is not enough food, particularly nutritious food for children.

‘The consequences of malnutrition could have a major impact on the whole country. Children are the next generation. The time to act is now’.

SCI called on the government and the international community to continue to put all the efforts to urgently respond to the situation in Burkina Faso to save a generation of children at risk.

The organisation also urged the government and the international community to prioritise the specific nutritional needs of children in humanitarian responses.

Source: Save the Children

Photo source: UNICEF Ethiopia

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