The number of children facing starvation in conflict-ridden in Mali is increasing, the UN Children Fund (UNICEF) warned on Monday.
New data from the affected Timbuktu and Gao regions showed that more than 15 per cent of children face acute malnutrition.
According to the data, the number has reached the “critical” level stipulated by World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines.
In 2016, the number of children under five in the regions affected by acute malnutrition was just below 15 per cent, which WHO considered “serious.”
An estimated 165,000 children across the country are expected to be malnourished in 2018, an increase of 23,000 from 2017.
“We must provide life-saving treatment and ensure that each and every one of these children can fully recover,” according to Lucia Elmi, UNICEF representative in Mali.
According to the World Bank, every 10th child born in Mali, (considered one of the poorest countries in the world), dies before reaching the age of five.
Since 2012, instability and violence have destabilized the West African country.
Following a military coup in 2012, various Islamist groups took advantage of the chaos in the northern region of Mali to stage attacks in spite foreign military intervention by France.