Save the Children announced that it was shifting its work in Niger to "crisis response" level after world leaders had ignored months of warnings about the deteriorating situation there. 80 per cent of harvests have failed. Locusts have destroyed crops. Food prices have tripled. The poorest families have been reduced to eating leaves to survive.
Save the Children's chief executive Justin Forsyth said "The crisis there is reaching a new level of seriousness – children are dying because of hunger, and that is not just shocking but totally unacceptable. We must work immediately to stave off the worst."
It is not just the quantity of food but also the quality that matters. Millions of children are not getting the required vitamins, minerals and nutrients within the first few years of their life, restricting their mental and physical growth. A quarter of the world's children suffer from the stunting produced by chronic malnutrition.
"Children need not just enough to eat, but the right sort of food and nutrition," said Mr Forsyth. "A food security package from the G8 must have nutrition at its core."