An estimated 67,000 children are at risk of dying from extreme hunger across Sub-Saharan Africa before the end of the year due to impacts of COVID-19, an international charity warned on Tuesday.
Save the Children said food insecurity has been compounded by a series of shocks this year in parts of the continent – from floods, swarms of locusts and soaring food prices to displacements warned today, as already dire circumstances are exacerbated by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are already seeing the devastating impacts of this virus on some of the world’s hungriest people,” Ian Vale, regional director for Save the Children in East and Southern Africa said.
“Simply put, many parents can no longer put food on the table for their children,” Vale added.
The charity said the impact of COVID-19 has added to these factors, crippling economies and destroying livelihoods, rendering food and health services unaffordable or unavailable. Earlier this year it was estimated COVID-19 would drive up poverty in sub-Sahara Africa by 23 percent.
According to Save the Children, it is predicted that an estimated 433 million people will be undernourished across Africa by 2030.
“We are already seeing more children arriving at our clinics every day suffering from malnutrition, and we know that we are only at the beginning. If we wait until clinics are full, it will be too late,” Vale said.
He warned that the food crisis could kill tens of thousands of children unless they are reached with humanitarian assistance immediately.
Prior to the pandemic, Save the Children said, more than 26 million children across East and Southern Africa were stunted, and 2.6 million children suffered from severe acute malnutrition.
In West and Central Africa, it said, some 15.4 million children under five are expected to suffer from severe acute malnutrition this year, a 20 percent increase from earlier estimates.