ADDIS ABABA, 13 July (IRIN) - The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) said on Tuesday it would quadruple the number of its emergency feeding centres for almost 20,000 children by the end of the year in response to rising malnutrition in Ethiopia.
The agency said malnutrition was on the increase, with some 170,000 children at risk of death by the end of the year unless they received urgent help.
"Severe acute malnutrition among Ethiopia's children has reached alarming levels across the country," Bjorn Ljungqvist, country director for UNICEF in Ethiopia, said.
UNICEF, however, is still facing a massive cash shortage to tackle the growing crisis, and says it needs at least US $42 million to boost healthcare and feeding.
The agency plans to quadruple the number of therapeutic feeding centres in Ethiopia and boost life-saving vitamin A, de-worming, measles and nutrition for 6.8 million children.
Emergency health and nutrition programmes only have 25 percent of their funding, according to UNICEF.
The nutrition of 480,000 people in resettlement areas, including 75,600 children under 5, also remains fragile and requires close monitoring, it said.
Ljungqvist said the organisation also planned to increase its emergency water and sanitation interventions to reach 1.2 million Ethiopians.
However, water and sanitation interventions only had 18 percent of their funding for 2005, threatening emergency water provision for 280,000 people in vulnerable areas.
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