News / Africa

UNICEF Alarmed by Malnutrition in Horn of Africa

The U.N. Children's Fund says drought-stricken areas of the Horn of Africa are afflicted by record high levels of malnutrition among children.  The aid agency says tens of thousands of drought victims are fleeing to parts of Kenya and Ethiopia where they hope to find food.

The numbers are extremely alarming.  The U.N. Children’s Fund estimates 480,000 children in Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia will be severely malnourished this year.  This is a 50 percent increase over last year’s figure.  

UNICEF finds the worst affected children are in southern Somalia, where at least one in three children is severely malnourished.  UNICEF spokeswoman Marixie Mercado says humanitarian conditions there are the worst in a decade.

“Right now 2.85 million people, or one in three Somalis, is in crisis.  That means lacking safe water and sanitation, health services, vulnerable to illness and at risk due to the conflict.  In drought-affected areas of Kenya, monthly admissions for treatment of severe malnutrition are 78 percent higher than last year.  In the Turkana district, that is up in the northeast, global acute malnutrition rates are the highest ever recorded in the district, at 37.4 percent,” Mercado said.  

The United Nations reports more than 10 million people in the Horn of Africa are affected by the most severe drought to strike the region over the past 60 years.  Two consecutive years or poor rain has resulted in crop failure and the death of up to 30 percent of livestock.  

Aid agencies report an increase in food prices is pushing many moderately poor families over the edge.  And, they say, people are fleeing to refugee camps in Kenya and Ethiopia in unprecedented numbers for food and help.

Mercado says almost half the children arriving in Ethiopia are malnourished. “In Melkadida refugee camp, crude death rates for young children are above the emergency threshold of four deaths per 10,000 children per day.   The camps are extremely overcrowded, and the basics-safe water, sanitation, food, nutrition, shelter, are less than adequate,” Mercado said.

Mercado says UNICEF is working with the U.N. refugee agency to scale up assistance to children in the refugee camps in Kenya and Ethiopia.  She says the needs are huge.  Somalia alone needs at least $10 million over the next month.

She says UNICEF and other aid agencies have very little cash in which to take care of the basic needs of the millions of drought victims.  She warns many children will die of hunger if there is not enough money to deal with this humanitarian crisis.

You May Like

Polls Open in Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, 'No' voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve, 'Yes' vote not worth the risk More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country 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.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
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 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.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


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