Cosmas stared in shock at the baby girl in front of him. Her mother, Anantalia, said Emiliana was six months old. But with her huge eyes and tiny limbs, Emiliana looked the size of a two-month-old.
Drought has devastated this rural Tanzanian community’s food supply and left the baby girl severely malnourished. At one time, their village would celebrate as they brought in an abundant harvest. That hasn’t happened for a long time.
Unable to find steady work in the dwindling fields, her father couldn’t provide for Emiliana and her twin brother. “I was overwhelmed,” says Cosmas, a staff member at their local child development center, “with how little they were living off.”
Our fragile world is facing an impending global food crisis.
As extreme weather and drought collide with the impact of the pandemic, war, and rising inflation, an increasing number of people like Emiliana’s family are facing food insecurity.
What is Food Insecurity?
Food insecurity is when someone doesn’t have regular access to enough nutritious food. It’s caused when food either isn’t available or is isn’t affordable. Severe food insecurity means a person at times has not eaten for a day or more, leading to extreme and dangerous hunger.
For children, the result of food insecurity is devastating. Little Emiliana suffered severe weight loss — a consequence of malnutrition. If nothing changes, malnutrition can permanently affect a child’s growth and development.