Save the Children said on Thursday that more than 16,000 children are malnourished in northeastern Syria. The number increased by more than 150 percent in just six months.
According to the organization, the number of malnourished children in Kurdish-controlled areas in northeastern Syria rose from 6,650 between October and March 2022 to 16,895 between April and September 2022.
Sarah Ali, the organization’s nutrition officer, said in a statement, “Every day we deal with more malnourished children than the day before (…) This threatens the lives of children.” She noted that families suffer from poverty and the inability to buy food as major causes of the increase in malnutrition.
The majority of Syrians today live below the poverty line, according to the United Nations, and 12.4 million people are food insecure, according to the World Food Program. This comes at a time when the country is recording a significant rise in inflation and prices.
While household incomes in Syria have not improved, food prices have risen by 800 percent between 2019 and 2021 and are still rising. This is “pushing increasing numbers of people to hunger,” according to to Save the Children.
The lack of aid has worsened the situation in northeastern Syria after the closure of the Yarubiya crossing at the beginning of 2020, from which UN aid was entering. The delivery of such aid to SDF-controlled areas requires prior approval from the Syrian regime.
Save the Children quoted Maha, 30, who is looking at waste to provide food for her five children, the youngest of whom is malnourished, as saying, “The war brought extreme hunger with it. Before, we didn’t have to worry about securing food even though we were poor.”
“5.5 million people in Syria will be in need of direct food support in 2022-2033, half of them in the northeast,” the organization said.
The organization called on countries gathered at the climate conference in Egypt to recognize the effects of climate change on communities, especially children around the world, such as drought in northeastern Syria.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.