GENEVA, April 25 (Xinhua) -- Children treated for severe malnutrition in the largest in-patient center of Central African Republic (CAR) during the first quarter this year have tripled in number compared to last year, the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) announced on Friday.
Statistics from UNICEF showed that the first three months this year saw nearly 680 children treated for severe acute malnutrition with medical complications at Bangui Pediatric Hospital, the largest in-patient nutrition treatment center in the country, in contrast with the figure of 214 over the same period last year.
Having highlighted that the majority of families in CAR have been unable to plant their crops or earn their living and lacked access to safe water, sanitation and health care, UNICEF warned that the number of malnourished children in the African country would continue to rise sharply.
It was estimated that 28,000 children would suffer from severe acute malnutrition this year in the country, with their lives and future health deeply threatened.
"Here in CAR, more children will die from malnutrition and related diseases than from bullets," said Souleymane Diabate, UNICEF Representative in Central African Republic in a statement.
"Malnutrition is even more deadly in the rainy season, when diarrhea and malaria are at their peak. Both diseases put the lives of already malnourished children at risk,"Diabate warned.
The UN specialized agency called for enhanced efforts for the humanitarian assistance to the conflict-ridden country, noting that out of its appealed fund of 11 million dollars to support therapeutic and preventive nutrition programs for children, only 3.8 million dollars were raised.
UN statistics showed that the conflict in CAR claimed more than 2,000 lives, displaced some 637,000 within the country, and drove more than 290,000 to fled to neighboring countries.