News / Africa

UN: One-Third of Somalis Needing Aid Are Children

A severely malnourished Somali child receives Oral Rehydration Salts at Mogadishu's Banadir hospital on July 28, 2011
A severely malnourished Somali child receives Oral Rehydration Salts at Mogadishu's Banadir hospital on July 28, 2011

The United Nations children's agency says about one-third of Somalis in need of aid in the drought-struck southern part of the country are children.

UNICEF said Friday that some 1.25 million children are among the 3.7 million Somalis in urgent need, as the country experiences its worst drought in 60 years.

At the Dagahaley refugee camp in Dadaab, Kenya, families fleeing the famine in Somalia are given aid, but also face new challenges. VOA's Michael Onyiego visited the camp and took these pictures.

Also Friday, a second plane from the U.N.'s World Food Program landed in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, with a load of nutritional supplements.

On Thursday, fighting broke out in Mogadishu, a day after the first U.N. airlift of 14 tons of food arrived.  At least 10 people were killed and some 30 were wounded as African Union and government troops fought militants who were trying to stop food aid from being dispersed.

The al-Qaida-linked group al-Shabab has banned U.N. aid.  The militants are trying to turn Somalia into a staunchly Islamic state and already control much of the country.   

The U.N. has declared a famine in two sections of southern Somalia, both of which are al-Shabab strongholds.  The U.N. is expected to airlift more aid this week to eastern Ethiopia and northern Kenya, near the Somali border, where thousands of Somalis are filling overcrowded refugee camps.


Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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