Acute malnutrition among under-fives could rise by 20 per cent owing to COVID-19, the World Food Programme (WFP) said on Wednesday.
The UN agency has warned that young malnourished children are especially at risk from the pandemic and plummeting family income.
Because of this, it expects that an additional 10 million children from the world’s poorest countries face not having nearly enough to eat.
Failure to act could cause a devastating loss of life, health and productivity in future generations, said WFP’s Director of Nutrition, Lauren Landis.
Today, 22 million under-fives and pregnant and nursing mothers, rely on specialized food provided by WFP to prevent and treat malnutrition.
The agency is already working with Governments to monitor populations that are vulnerable to COVID-19 and adapting nutrition support where required.
WFP is also ensuring that the production of specialized nutritious foods is not disrupted by trade restrictions, and it is using its presence in remote communities to share infection prevention measures with those beyond the reach of fragile health systems.