In an already dire situation, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) on Tuesday warned of alarming child malnutrition in Ethiopia’s conflict-torn region of Tigray.

“Out of more than 69,000 children in Tigray screened for malnutrition, over 1,900 cases of severe acute malnutrition and over 17,700 cases of moderate malnutrition have been identified,” said OCHA.

“Available data indicate alarming malnutrition rates.”More than half of the 605 pregnant and breastfeeding mothers screened in 10 districts early last month had moderate acute malnutrition, raising the risk of increased stillbirths, miscarriages, and maternal and neonatal mortality, the humanitarian office said in a release.

The United Nations and humanitarian partners provide nutrition services through health facilities and mobile health and nutrition teams, OCHA said. Still, more funding is urgently needed to help all affected people.

This includes supplementary feeding programs for hundreds of children and breastfeeding mothers, transportation of nutrition supplies, distribution of high-energy biscuits and ready-to-use therapeutic foods and milk, nutrition status monitoring, and facilitating the training of health workers in managing severe acute malnutrition, OCHA said.

The humanitarians also said they have reports that many multiple sites for displaced people have not received food and other assistance since the conflict started five months ago.

The World Food Programme targets nearly 867,000 children and about 415,000 pregnant and breastfeeding mothers in 78 communities in Tigray through its feeding programs. Since February, it has reached more than 95,000 women and children in 15 districts.

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