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UNICEF Says Ukraine War Threatens Malnourished Children Worldwide

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(CTN News) – The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warned that as many as 600,000 additional children could be left without access to life-saving treatment for severe acute malnutrition due to the rising costs of raw ingredients resulting in part from increasing fuel prices and the conflict in Ukraine.

UNICEF said in a news release Sunday that the price of ready-to-use therapeutic food is projected to rise between 16% and 20% in the next six months due to the higher cost of raw ingredients. According to the release, other factors such as supply chain disruptions due to pandemics and drought have contributed to the price increase.

RUTF, or ready-to-use therapeutic food, is an energy-dense paste made from peanuts, sugar, oil, and milk powder. The war in Ukraine is blocking supplies between Russia and Ukraine, which is a key agricultural producer and exporter.

Conflict, climate shocks, and the COVID-19 pandemic were already putting a strain on families’ ability to feed their children before the war in Ukraine took place, UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell said in a press release.

The world is rapidly becoming a virtual tinderbox of preventable child deaths and children suffering from waste.

At least 10 million children suffering from severe wasting do not have access to RUTF, according to UNICEF.

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