Nutrition during the COVID-19 pandemic in the Middle East and North Africa, Eastern Mediterranean and Arab Regions

Governments and partners across the Middle East and North Africa Region (MENA) are acting to protect citizens from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). These crucial efforts will save many lives. However, measures needed to slow the transmission of the disease are resulting in hardship for many vulnerable families. In particular, the COVID-19 pandemic is having worrying impacts on household incomes, food supply chains, health services and schools. The United Nations Network on Nutrition, comprising the FAO, UNICEF, WFP and WHO, is closely following the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the nutrition status of those most affected, particularly the poor and vulnerable in the MENA, Eastern Mediterranean and Arab Regions. According to the latest estimates, nearly 110 million people were undernourished in the Region. Further, an estimated 7.6 million children under the age of five were suffering from wasting; 20 million children were stunted, and 5.4 million children were overweight in the Region.