News / Africa

Malnutrition Rates Worsen at Newest Somali Refugee Camp

Multimedia

Audio

Humanitarian agencies say the condition of newly-arrived Somali refugees at camps in Ethiopia is deteriorating as famine spreads inside Somalia.  At the Hilaweyn camp along the Somalia-Ethiopia border, more than half the newly-arrived children are suffering from malnutrition.

Thirty children cling to life at the emergency ward of the Doctors Without Borders clinic at Hilaweyn Camp. Eight died of severe malnutrition last week, and 80 more new cases show up at the door each morning.

Hilaweyn was just opened a month ago to handle the overflow from three other camps at Dollo Ado, a sprawling complex holding more than 120,000 refugees from Somalia’s famine zone. Hilaweyn’s emergency coordinator Voitek Asztabski says these recent arrivals are in worse shape than those who came earlier.

"They are chronically malnourished. The journey itself lasts for days or weeks.  It’s a tremendous effort for them to cross and come to this place here. And they are not getting stronger during the walk, they are getting weaker, so that’s why what we observe is over 50 percent of malnourished kids below five years old that cross the border are malnourished," he said.

Asztabski says 1,800 children, or nearly half those under the age of five, are in the camp’s nutritional assistance program.

The United Nations refugee agency says the flow of refugees into Dollo Ado was more than 2,000 a day at its peak. Now the flow has dried to a trickle. But agency spokeswoman Laura Padoan says the latest group of refugees is showing symptoms of a variety of malnutrition-related diseases.

"You can hear a lot of coughing, there’s a lot of children here that have upper respirtory infections, many of them been staying outside while traveling to Ethiopia, haven’t had shelter, so some arrive with pneumonia, but the main issue is malnutrition because they’ve been forced to flee because of the drought and the famine," she said.

The United Nations announced Monday that famine has spread to a sixth region in Somalia, and warned that 750,000 people could die unless relief operations are scaled up.

Doctors Without Borders’ Voitek Asztabski says the hardship of working in the windswept desert of Hilaweyn Camp is offset by the knowledge that lives are being saved here. But humanitarian workers say much more is urgently needed to head off a looming catastrophe over the next six to 12 months, and maybe longer if the rains in Somalia fail again.

You May Like

British Fighters On Frontline of ISIS Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign Jihadists More

Audio Hit Song Delivers Ebola Message in Liberia

'Ebola in Town' has danceable beat, while also delivering serious message about avoiding infection More

Video New Technology Gives Surgeons Unprecedented Views of Patients’ Bodies

Technology offers real-time, interactive, medical visualization and is multi-dimensional More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid