UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 19 (UPI) — Guatemala’s worst drought in 30 years is affecting an estimated 2.5 million people, especially children and pregnant women, the United Nations said.
Drought conditions have been exacerbated by pest infestations, which have reduced the food supply, especially in the so-called dry corridor along the Pacific Ocean, U.N. officials said in a release Friday.
An estimated 30 percent of all pregnant women in the corridor are malnourished and 25 children have died in recent weeks, Guatemala’s Ministry of Health said.
The Guatemalan government needs $117 million in foreign aid to feed 54,000 families in the corridor and another 410,800 families elsewhere in the country, the United Nations said, noting food aid to tens of thousands of families will end this month unless more money is made available.
Nearly half of all Guatemalan children under age 5 suffer from stunting because of chronic malnutrition and the number of children being admitted to hospital for acute malnutrition has tripled in recent months, the United Nations said.
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