Ukraine crisis sparks risk of malnutrition in North Africa & Middle East

Ukraine crisis sparks risk of malnutrition in North Africa & Middle East

The nutritional status of children in North Africa and the Middle East is expected to worsen amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine causing a hike in food prices.

Disruption in imports caused by the war is resulting in a shortage of food at a time of rising prices of essential commodities, including edible oils, wheat and fuel.

If this keeps on going, it will impact children's health severely, especially in regions like Egypt, Lebanon, Sudan, Syria, Yemen and Libya.

As per recent assessments, some of these areas were already considered hunger hotspots before the Ukraine crisis as they were already facing an economic crisis, conflicts, or a sharp global increase in food prices in 2021.

UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, Adele Khodr said that due to the ongoing conflicts, the Covid-19 pandemic, political instability, and the Ukraine war, the region has seen unexpected hikes in prices of food combined with low purchasing power.

The ratio of children with malnutrition is expected to increase drastically in the coming time, she added.

Ukraine war intensifies the impacts of two long years of the Covid-19 pandemic on employment, poverty and economies in the MENA region, where around 90% of the food is imported.

Several countries are struggling with child malnutrition, especially due to ongoing humanitarian crises and armed conflicts.

Only 36% of the young children in the region are said to receive the necessary diets required to grow and develop healthily. The region has always had high micronutrient deficiencies and undernutrition rates. On average, 1 of 5 children is underdeveloped, and the waste rate on average is 7%.

Furthermore, the MENA region, which is said to be highly impacted by the Russia-Ukraine crisis, possesses the highest undernutrition rates.

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