UNICEF concerned about impact of drought and food crisis on children in the Horn of Africa

 

UNICEF concerned about impact of drought and food crisis on children in the Horn of Africa

Global News 00:33

A Somali boy waits to register for food and other aid in the Dagahaley refugee camp in North Eastern Province, near the Kenya-Somalia border. The camp is among three that comprise the Dadaab camps, located on the outskirts of the town of Dadaab in Garissa District.  In early July 2011, Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia are the three Horn of Africa countries most affected by a deepening drought, rising food prices and the persistent conflict in Somalia. More than 10 million people, including in neighbouring Djibouti and Uganda, are now threatened by the worst drought in the region in 60 years. Somalia faces one of the most-severe food security crises in the world as it continues to endure an extended humanitarian emergency, with tens of thousands fleeing into Kenya and Ethiopia. More than 10,000 Somalis a week are now arriving in the Dadaab camps in eastern Kenya, where aid partners struggle to meet the needs of some 360,000 people, in facilities meant for 90,000. An estimated 480,000 severely malnourished children are at risk of dying in drought-affected areas of Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia and Djibouti; while a further 1.6 million moderately malnourished children and the wider-affected population are at high risk of disease. In northern Kenya, more than 25 per cent of children suffer from global acute malnutrition  in the Turkana district the rate is at 37.4 per cent, its highest ever. UNICEF, together with Governments, UN, NGO and community partners, is supporting a range of interventions and essential services, especially for the displaced and for refugees, including feeding programmes, immunization campaigns, health outreach, and access to safe water and to improve sanitation. An updated UNICEF Humanitarian Action Update is being issued to address scaled-up funding needs for the coming three months.NAIROBI/ NEW YORK, 29 June 2011
With a major food and refugee crisis looming in the Horn of Africa due to a deadly combination of drought, on-going conflict and escalating food prices, UNICEF calls on local governments and donors to lead a rapid humanitarian response. According to UNICEF, millions of children and women are at risk from death and disease unless a rapid and speedy response is put into action.

As usual, vulnerable and disadvantaged children are the ones who suffer the most. Over 9 million people are already in urgent need of humanitarian assistance, close to 2 million of them are children under the age of five.

This volatile region has seen many crises. The current one, talked of as the worst for 60 years, threatens thousands of families already living in the direst of conditions. The past months have been the driest in six decades in parts of the region. Global Acute Malnutrition rates in Northern Kenya are now above 25 per cent with records of 37.4 per cent in the Turkana district.
Somali refugees wait to register for food and other aid in the Dagahaley refugee camp in North Eastern Province, near the Kenya-Somalia border. The camp is among three that comprise the Dadaab camps, located on the outskirts of the town of Dadaab in Garissa District.  In early July 2011, Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia are the three Horn of Africa countries most affected by a deepening drought, rising food prices and the persistent conflict in Somalia. More than 10 million people, including in neighbouring Djibouti and Uganda, are now threatened by the worst drought in the region in 60 years. Somalia faces one of the most-severe food security crises in the world as it continues to endure an extended humanitarian emergency, with tens of thousands fleeing into Kenya and Ethiopia. More than 10,000 Somalis a week are now arriving in the Dadaab camps in eastern Kenya, where aid partners struggle to meet the needs of some 360,000 people, in facilities meant for 90,000. An estimated 480,000 severely malnourished children are at risk of dying in drought-affected areas of Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia and Djibouti; while a further 1.6 million moderately malnourished children and the wider-affected population are at high risk of disease. In northern Kenya, more than 25 per cent of children suffer from global acute malnutrition  in the Turkana district the rate is at 37.4 per cent, its highest ever. UNICEF, together with Governments, UN, NGO and community partners, is supporting a range of interventions and essential services, especially for the displaced and for refugees, including feeding programmes, immunization campaigns, health outreach, and access to safe water and to improve sanitation. An updated UNICEF Humanitarian Action Update is being issued to address scaled-up funding needs for the coming three months. Thousands of families are crossing the border from Somalia on their way to the refugee camps in Dolo Ado in Ethiopia and Dadaab in Kenya, which are already completely overwhelmed.

UNICEF is directly supporting the rehabilitation of moderately and severely malnourished children in partnership with government health services, NGOs and community organisations. Similar partnerships have enabled vital child immunisation campaigns, health outreach support, programmes to ensure access to safe water and improve sanitation particularly in IDP and refugee camps.

However, funding shortfalls and in some areas, the denial of access, threaten to disrupt these essential services.