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UNICEF, WFP respond as hunger devastates Central African Republic

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UNICEF said today it's treating cases of severe malnutrition in the conflict-devastated Central African Republic. Mobile malnutrition units are also being used to increase the capacity to identify and treat cases in small children.

Severe malnutrition can cause lasting physical and mental damage in small children.With food supplies severely disrupted in the country, the threat of malnutrition is widespread.

UNICEF states it's provided up to 24 metric tons of ready-to-eat food, therapeutic milk and essential drugs to partner agencies. The UN children's agency says this will treat "the estimated need of nearly 2,000 cases of severe malnutrition."

The violence from rebel groups has displaced around one million people. This fighting has destroyed food supplies in the already impoverished country. The UN World Food Programme (WFP) is feeding displaced persons. WFP plans to feed over one million people this year, but needs funding.

The UN says, "the vast majority of communities reported that meal consumption has dropped from 3 to 1 meal per day. At the same time, all communities report that livelihoods have been lost, either left behind or stolen. An overwhelming 94% of communities report they will not have enough seed to plant for the next agricultural season."

The hunger crisis is expected to worsen as the year progresses. The United Nations is short on funds to provide food and other supplies.

The World Food Programme has set up a relief fund.

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