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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More