El Niño drought leaves 1 million African children severely malnourished

Nearly 1 million children need treatment for severe malnutrition in eastern and southern Africa due to drought that is putting millions more at risk of hunger, water shortages and disease, the U.N. children's agency said on Wednesday.

Even though the powerful El Niño weather phenomenon blamed for the drought is forecast to dissipate in the coming months, its impact on people in affected countries will last far longer, the United Nations has warned.

"El Niño... will wane, but the cost to children - many who were already living hand-to-mouth - will be felt for years to come," said Leila Gharagozloo-Pakkala, regional director for east and southern Africa with the U.N. Children's Fund (UNICEF).