UNICEF estimates the lives of over two million children are threatened by the unfolding crisis in the Horn of Africa Appealing for HK$ 250 million for emergency relief


UNICEF estimates the lives of over two million children are threatened by the unfolding crisis in the Horn of Africa Appealing for HK$ 250 million for emergency relief

Somali children and adults wait to register for aid in the Ifo refugee camp in North Eastern Province, near the Kenya-Somalia border. The camp is among three that comprise the Dadaab camps, located near 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. UNICEF is seeking US $31.8 million for the next three months to provide humanitarian assistance for children and women in the four most-affected countries.

HONG KONG, 11 July 2011 – The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) estimates that over two million young children are malnourished and in need of urgent life-saving actions, if they are to survive conditions in drought-affected  countries in the Horn of Africa. Half a million of those children are facing imminent life-threatening conditions, with long lasting consequences to their physical and mental development. UNICEF is asking for HK$ 250 million to provide life-saving support to the millions of affected children and women.

This crisis is being called the worst for 60 years, in a region familiar with severe drought. Countries most seriously affected are Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, and Djibouti. Global acute malnutrition rates in Northern Kenya are now above 25 % with records reaching as high as nearly 40% in the Turkana district. UNICEF estimates a total of 10 million people are already in need of humanitarian assistance.

High food prices and prolonged drought are worsening an already dire situation for thousands of families in need of food and water. Thousands of families are crossing the border from Somalia as emergency feeding centers are being set up by UNICEF and other humanitarian agencies in neighbouring countries. The refugee situation is growing with some 10,000 arriving every week in Dadaab on the border between Somalia and Kenya.

The threat of disease on already weakened young children is of particular concern and UNICEF is urgently setting up child immunisation campaigns. UNICEF, government agencies, NGOs and other UN agencies will be working in the vital areas of water, food and sanitation in the coming days to ward off a massive emergency. However funding shortfalls, and in some areas the denial of access, threaten to disrupt these essential services.

“UNICEF is asking for US$ 31.9 million, that is HK$ 250 million, for the coming three months to provide life-saving support in the Horn of Africa.” said Ms Irene Chan, Chief Executive of Hong Kong Committee for UNICEF, “The funding will ensure that affected women and children will receive treatment for severe acute malnutrition, gain access to clean water through water trucking, receive vaccines against deadly diseases and resume education. Your donation is vital to the survival of every vulnerable child and woman. Support us and save children in the Horn of Africa! ”

Donation for the Horn of Africa Emergency Relief (Click here to direct to the donation page)

(In the unusual event that donations to the Horn of Africa exceed the needs, we will direct your gift to children in greatest need elsewhere.)