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Children play with kites in a waste area in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on Sept. 15, 2019. Photo: Syed Mahamudur Rahman/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Every 5 seconds a child under 15 years old died in 2018, mostly from preventable causes, according to the latest mortality trends report from 2 UN agencies.

The big picture: UNICEF and the United Nations Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation (UNIGME) found the total number of deaths among children and adolescents under 15 years old has dropped by 56% since 1990 — from about 14.2 million to 6.2 million in 2018. Causes of death include treatable infectious diseases, nutritional causes, drowning, burns and injuries.

The impact: Approximately 52 million children under 5 years old are projected to die between 2019 and 2030, according to the report, a decrease from 2017's projection of 60 million children in that age group. About half of those children would be newborns.

  • 4 out of 5 of those deaths under age 15 would occur in sub-Saharan Africa and Central and Southern Asia in 2019–2030.
  • If all countries reach the UN's child survival target of 25 or fewer deaths per 1,000 live births by 2030, 11 million lives under age 5 could be saved — more than half in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Maternal deaths are currently 50 times higher for women in sub-Saharan Africa than in high-income countries.

Where it stands: Countries with high to very high mortality rates for children under 5 largely made faster progress in reducing mortality since 2000 than during the 1990s. Sabrina Sidhu, a UNICEF spokesperson, said that change could broadly be attributed to increased vaccinations for preventable diseases like measles and pneumonia and stronger prioritization of the issue.

  • Sub-Saharan Africa remains the region with the highest mortality rate of under-5 year olds in the world.

What they're saying: “We must support countries as they move toward universal health coverage to ensure that all women and children get the care they need through functional quality primary health care systems," said Muhammad Pate, global director for health, nutrition and population at the World Bank Group.

  • “We are pleased to see a reduction in maternal deaths, but the decline is far from adequate,” said Natalia Kanem, executive director of UNFPA. “Hundreds of thousands of women continue to die each year from preventable causes. This is unacceptable."

Go deeper: Children worldwide are less likely to die young than ever before

Go deeper

"Atmospheric river" to whiplash Northern California from drought to flood

A map depicting 24-hour preciptation forecast (inches) ending Monday at 5a.m. local time. Photo: NOAA

A series of powerful "atmospheric river" storms are set dump historic amounts of rainfall across parts of drought-stricken California and the Pacific Northwest from this weekend, forecasters warn.

Why it matters: A strong atmospheric river, packing large amounts of moisture, is predicted to whiplash Northern California from drought to flood.

10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves to be removed after fires

A firefighter looks up at a giant sequoia tree after fire burned through the Sequoia National Forest near California Hot Springs, California, on Sept. 23. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

"Upwards of" 10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves have been "weakened by drought, disease, age, and/or fire" and must be removed in the wake of California's wildfires, the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks announced.

Why it matters: The damage to these trees, considered "national treasures," and work to remove them means a nearby key highway must remain closed to visitors as they have "the potential to strike people, cars, other structures, or create barriers to emergency response services," per a statement from the national parks.

Obama stumps for McAuliffe, urges Virginians not "to go back to the chaos"

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Former President Barack Obama framed a Nov. 2 gubernatorial race as a bellwether for the Democratic Party and the country, telling a crowd at a campaign event for Terry McAuliffe on Saturday that "I believe you, right here in Virginia, are going to show the rest of the country and the world that we're not going to indulge in our worst instincts."

Why it matters: With just over a week to go before Election Day in the Commonwealth, McAuliffe is bringing out the big guns. The 44th president appeared on the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University to urge supporters to get to the polls.