The U.N. children’s fund warned Tuesday that Zimbabwe is facing a food and malnutrition crisis brought on by an El Nino-induced drought.
UNICEF said nearly 33,000 children in the country are suffering from severe acute malnutrition and are in urgent need of therapeutic treatment.
Zimbabwe has suffered through two consecutive seasons of failed rains, with disastrous consequences for harvests and family food reserves. UNICEF said food shortages have sent hunger and malnutrition levels spiraling upward. It said livestock has been dying because water sources have dried up.
A recent assessment found the share of hungry families in the country had more than doubled to 37 percent in the past eight months; nearly 2.8 million people in rural Zimbabwe will need food assistance, half of them children.
UNICEF spokesman Christof Boulierac said 2.1 percent of children under age 5 have severe acute malnutrition. The international threshold of 2 percent triggers an emergency response.
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SOURCE: VOA News, Lisa Schlein