Food and water shortages brought about by drought and floods are causing malnutrition, which increases vulnerability to killer diseases such as malaria, diarrhea, cholera and dengue fever.


“The consequences could ripple through generations unless affected communities receive support,” UNICEF said, referring to stunting, which affects children getting too little protein, vitamins and minerals in their food. Stunted children have poor cognitive development and health, achieve less at school and, as adults, earn less than children who had adequate nutrition, studies show.



El Niño has caused drought in parts of Africa, including Malawi and Zimbabwe. Worst-affected is Ethiopia, which has the second-biggest population in Africa and is suffering its most severe drought in 30 years.


More than 8million Ethiopians need food aid and this could rise to 15million by early next year, the UN said.


About 350000 Ethiopian children have severe malnutrition, UNICEF said, meaning that they are likely to die without therapeutic feeding.


In Somalia flash floods have destroyed thousands of makeshift homes and destroyed crops. The number of people in need of life-saving aid is well over 3.2million.