News / Africa

UN: 500,000 Malnourished Children at Risk in Horn of Africa

A Somali man who fled violence and drought in Somalia with his family sits on the ground outside a food distribution point in the Dadaab refugee camp in northeastern Kenya on July 5, 2011
A Somali man who fled violence and drought in Somalia with his family sits on the ground outside a food distribution point in the Dadaab refugee camp in northeastern Kenya on July 5, 2011

The U.N. Children's Fund reports about 500,000 children in the Horn of Africa are at imminent risk of death due to malnutrition.  The agency says another 1.7 million additional children also are at risk.  Two senior officials from the U.N. refugee agency, who have just returned from Ethiopia and Kenya, confirm the gravity of the situation facing millions of drought victims, particularly the children.

The U.N. officials visited refugee camps in Dollo Abo in southeast Ethiopia and Dadaab in Kenya, the world’s largest, most congested refugee camp in the world.  UNHCR Public Health Chief of Section Paul Spiegel says he was taken aback by the very dire situation in Dollo.

He says he was shocked at the extremely high mortality rate recorded in June.

“It was 7.4 deaths per 10,000 people per day.  And, to put that into perspective, baseline for sub-Saharan Africa is 0.5 and an emergency is generally declared at greater than equal to one death.  So, it is 15 times the baseline and the preponderance of the deaths are amongst under five children.  Secondly the malnutrition rates, which is really one of the major causes of death are extremely high,” Spiegel said.  

Data from the group, Doctors Without Borders, show global acute malnutrition rates in June in the camps were more than 50 percent and rates for severe malnutrition, which can lead to death, were 26.8 percent.  

Spiegel says these findings are considered extremely rare and high.  He notes acute severe malnutrition rates in July appear to be going down, which is a good sign.  

The U.N. estimates more than 10 million people in the Horn of Africa are affected by drought.  The situation is particularly serious in Somalia, which keeps churning out thousands of new refugees fleeing from drought and violence.

UNHCR Deputy Director for East and Horn of Africa Raouf Mazou says he was astonished at, what he calls, the unprecedented movement of populations going into Kenya and Ethiopia.  

“At some point, we probably had between the two countries up to 4,000 people crossing every day.  It has somehow reduced a bit.  Again, somehow reduced a bit, but we should not think that this is a long-term trend or a long-term tendency.  The situation in Somalia continues to be extremely difficult.  As was said before, this terrible mix of drought and violence that continues in Somalia, which results in these type of movements,” Mazou said.

In Dollo, the refugee officials found camps filling up quickly.  Dollo has two long-term camps and a third camp, which opened recently to accommodate new arrivals, is already crowded.  The officials say a new camp, which can host 60,000 refugees, is due to open in the next two to three days.

They say camp conditions are very difficult and unhealthy.  They say people are not getting enough water to drink and sanitary conditions are terrible because of a lack of latrines.  

They warn conditions both in Dollo and in the huge, overcrowded Dadaab refugee complex in Kenya are ripe for epidemics of measles, water-borne and other diseases.  They say no cases of cholera have been found, but this could quickly change as the number of cases of acute watery diarrhea is rising.

You May Like

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine 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.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid