By Tobias Lengnan Dapam
At least 17.6 million children will be born into hunger this year, or about 33 children a minute, which is a 22% jump from a decade ago, according to new Save the Children research released on Monday to mark World Children’s Day.
The report said Save the Children found about one-fifth more newborns will face hunger this year compared to 2013 when 14.4 million children were born into the grips of hunger.
“Using the latest country data on the prevalence of undernourishment from the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN (FAO)and UN estimates on the number of births.
“Economic instability, conflicts and repeated climate shocks have contributed to a devastating hunger crisis that is affecting every corner of the world.”
According to the analysis, Africa and Asia account for 95% of the world’s undernourished births in 2023. The data does not include the impact the escalation of violence in the occupied Palestinian territory is having on hunger or the birth rate in the region.
“More than 17 million newborns will this year enter a world where hunger will eat away at their childhood. Hunger will destroy their dreams, silence their play, disrupt their education, and threaten their lives,” said Vishna Shah-Little, Regional Director for Advocacy, Campaigns, Communications and Media for Save the Children in West and Central Africa. “The future of these children is already compromised before they even take their first breath. We must protect their childhoods and futures before it’s too late.”
In countries where at least 25% of the population is facing chronic hunger, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) will have the highest number of babies born undernourished this year. About 1.5 million newborns are projected to be born into the grips of hunger in the DRC – the highest number recorded for the country since FAO records began in 2001.
Projections indicate that in 2023, an estimated 6.6 million children under the age of five will be undernourished in the DRC.