gtag('config', 'UA-12595121-1'); UNICEF Warns of Severe Malnutrition in Zimbabwe Due to El Niño-Induced Drought – The Zimbabwe Mail

UNICEF Warns of Severe Malnutrition in Zimbabwe Due to El Niño-Induced Drought

UNICEF Zimbabwe Chief of Communications, Yves Willemot
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BIKITA – The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) Zimbabwe has issued a stark warning about severe malnutrition expected to hit Zimbabwe early next year as the El Niño-induced drought reaches its peak.

UNICEF Zimbabwe Chief of Communications, Yves Willemot, emphasized the importance of preventive measures over treatment during a media briefing in Masvingo last week. Willemot highlighted the escalating impact of climate change on children and urged governments, development partners, and the private sector to prioritize children in their climate-related investments.

In addition to children under five, pregnant women and adolescents are also at significant risk. UNICEF is appealing for US$84.9 million to mitigate the effects of the drought in Zimbabwe.

Willemot projected that the worst malnutrition period would be between January and March 2025, coinciding with the depletion of household food stocks from previous harvests. The drought is expected to affect children in multiple ways, including reduced access to water, sanitation, hygiene, educational opportunities, and healthcare.

As part of its effort to raise awareness and encourage child-focused climate investments, UNICEF is decentralizing its media engagements. This strategy was exemplified by the press briefing for Masvingo journalists.

A recent UNICEF report revealed that 580,000 children in Zimbabwe are living in severe food poverty, with 181 million children under the age of five globally in dire need of food.

Following the briefing, UNICEF organized a visit for about 15 journalists to Dewure 1 Rural Health Centre in Bikita. The center has benefited from UNICEF’s interventions aimed at combating malnutrition. Rambanapasi Haruvanzwi, the sister in charge at Dewure 1, warned that many children would suffer from Kwashiorkor and other forms of malnutrition as a result of the drought. Malnourished children are more susceptible to various childhood diseases, exacerbating their vulnerability during this crisis.

Source: Masvingo Mirror