Child labour, marriages concern as hunger bites

poor childrenFrom  MAVHUTO BANDA in Lilongwe, Malawi
LILONGWE, (CAJ News) – WORSENING hunger in the Southern African region has forced children into labour, early marriages and forced thousands out of school.
Malawi, Madagascar and Zimbabwe are the most affected by the worst El Nino-induced drought in decades.
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported yesterday (Wednesday) the crisis is disproportionately affecting women and children, with an increasing number of children dropping out of school due to lack of water and food.
Children are exploited as labourers mostly in farms while some minors werenow married in better off families to stave hunger.
In Malawi, more than 137 000 children have been forced out of school by the crisis.
In the affected countries, UN agencies and partners have treated more than 82 000 children for severe acute malnutrition and reached more than 600 000 people with clean water.
With food stocks largely depleted due to poor or failed harvests across the region, estimates of people in need of humanitarian assistance have increased by more than one million to 13,8 million in Southern Africa.
CAJ News

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