UNICEF Report: Despite recent improvements, outlook for the Horn of Africa increasingly worrisome

UNICEF Report: Despite recent improvements, outlook for the Horn of Africa increasingly worrisome

Militia members, holding guns and standing on a truck with a heavy machine gun, cast shadows against a wall in central Somalia. They have been hired by the local government to provide security in the community. Though the immediate area is currently peaceful, nearby hostilities are present a constant threat to stability.

By April 2009 in Somalia, drought and armed conflicts had displaced some 1.2 million people, contributing to a nutrition crisis that leaves one in six children under the age of five acutely malnourished. The country remains one of the three poorest in the world, and is the second-worst affected by recent volatility in food prices. Forty-three per cent of the population  including 1.4 million children  requires humanitarian assistance, but chronic conflict among armed groups limits humanitarian access to vulnerable populations. UNICEF and partners currently provide water to 250,000 displaced people and nutritional support to over 100,000 children per month. Nevertheless, over 300,000 children are expected to experience acute malnutrition over the course of the year. The region worst affected by the drought and conflict is the Central and Southern Zone, where humanitarian aid workers are also being targeted.

1 April 2012

UNICEF’s massive humanitarian response in the Horn of Africa in 2011 reversed the spread of famine, yet new shocks can erode the hard-won gains.

The March-May seasonal rains will remain below average in most parts of the region. On-going conflicts in Somalia and attacks on aid workers in parts of Kenya threaten the essential services. This year, UNICEF calls for HK$3.23 billion (US$413.8 million) to continue and stabilise the vital interventions in the Horn of Africa.

For more about the progress of UNICEF’s work to build the resilience, please read Regional six-month Progress Report: Response to the Horn of Africa emergency.