Several humanitarian organizations, most notably the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), have warned of the consequences of the lack of treatment for malnourished Syrian children. UNICEF said that without appropriate care, children with severe acute malnourishment are nine times at risk of mortality than their well-nourished counter-parts.
In its mid-year report on food security for children in Syria, the UN children’s agency said that around 92,000 children under the age of five years in Syria are expected to suffer from acute malnutrition. Of those, 19,000 girls and boys are at risk of death due to severe acute malnutrition; a life threatening condition that requires immediate treatment.
The report, which covers the first half of 2019, indicated that an estimated 4.7 million girls and boys under the age of five years and pregnant and lactating women are at risk of undernutrition and in need of comprehensive curative and preventive nutrition services.
Approximately 865,295 girls and boys under the age of five years suffer from micro nutrient deficiencies, the report added. It is estimated that 1.6 million mothers will require maternal nutrition services and skilled support to necessitate optimal infant and young child feeding and care practices.
“The Global Acute Malnutrition among boys and girls under the age of five years remains within acceptable international benchmarks in most of the assessed areas during 2018. However, there are some pockets where SMART surveys and nutrition surveillance information show an increased stunting rates such as Eastern Ghouta (36%) and Tel Abyed (32%).”
UNICEF added: “Acute malnutrition problem is not a priority since GAM and SAM rates are not high and hence nutrition cluster was only 55% funded during 2018 and less than 20% funded during the first quarter of 2019.”
In 2018, the World Food Program (WFP) estimated that over 6.5 million Syrians were at risk of food insecurity, with 10.5 million in need of food and livelihood support.
The WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian organization fighting hunger, helping more than 30 million people in about 80 countries. WFP provides food assistance, including in emergencies, and works with communities to improve nutrition and support the people’s resilience. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department + Agencies)