News / Africa

UNICEF Appeals for Free Air Lift of Emergency Aid to Horn of Africa

Kenyan port workers prepare to load into a ship a consignment of food from UNICEF destined for Somalia to help in the humanitarian crisis from the coastal town of Mombasa August 1, 2011
Kenyan port workers prepare to load into a ship a consignment of food from UNICEF destined for Somalia to help in the humanitarian crisis from the coastal town of Mombasa August 1, 2011

The U.N. Children’s Fund is appealing to the air transport industry for free or heavily discounted cargo space to help transport emergency nutritional supplies to the Horn of Africa. UNICEF says hundreds of thousands of acutely malnourished children urgently need therapeutic treatment to keep them alive.  

UNICEF spokeswoman, Marixie Mercado, says getting emergency supplies of food to malnourished children in the Horn of Africa as quickly as possible is a matter of life or death.

“There are over 2.3 million acutely malnourished children in the Horn of Africa. More than half a million will die if they do not get help within weeks.  With therapeutic feeding a child can fully recuperate in a matter of four to six weeks," said Mercado. "We are asking the air transport industry for free or heavily discounted airline cargo space to transport this therapeutic food to children who will die without it.”  

The worst drought to hit the Horn of Africa in 60 years is having a devastating affect upon the lives and livelihoods of millions of people. The United Nations reports nearly 12.5 million people in Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Somalia are facing starvation.

An internally displaced Somali family stand in front of their makeshift shelter in south Mogadishu in Hodan district August 2, 2011
An internally displaced Somali family stand in front of their makeshift shelter in south Mogadishu in Hodan district August 2, 2011

People in Somalia are particularly hard hit as they try to survive the twin disasters of conflict and drought. The United Nations warns famine, which is present in several regions of southern Somalia, is likely to spread throughout the entire region in the next two months.

The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs or OCHA reports one quarter of Somalia’s 7.5 million people are either internally displaced or have fled to neighboring countries in search of assistance. It says about 1.25 million children across southern Somalia are in urgent need of life-saving assistance.

Mercado says UNICEF can help save these children’s lives if her agency can get special nutritional food to them quickly. She says UNICEF has more than 5,000 metric tons of emergency food in warehouses in Belgium, France and Italy.

She says this is enough to treat 300,000 malnourished children.  She notes these supplies could be flown to Nairobi in a matter of hours.  But, air transport is extremely costly.

“A cargo jumbo jet, for instance costs about $350,000 to transport 100 metric tons of therapeutic food from France to Nairobi.  And, that cost is pretty much equivalent of the cost of the cargo itself," said Mercado. "The other alternative is via sea and we are setting up a pipeline for doing this. But, we have a six-week gap, which means that we need to transport 400 metric tons per week via air.”  

The funding situation for humanitarian operations for the Horn of Africa is dire. OCHA reports the U.N.’s Drought Appeal is only 44 percent funded. It says $1.4 billion more is urgently required.    

UNICEF is asking for $314 million as its part of this consolidated appeal. To date, the agency has received about one-third of this sum, which it says is far too little to do what needs to be done.

UNICEF spokeswoman Mercado says over the past week, British Airways, Lufthansa, UPS, Virgin and Cargo Luxos have offered to transport some of the emergency supplies to Nairobi free of charge for a limited period of time.  

She says she hopes these offers will inspire other airlines to step forward.

You May Like

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Works to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Smithsonian senior research botanist Vicki Funk says ultimate goal is 'trying to get one-half of the diversity of plant life on Earth at the genus level in two years' More

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

Report from member of British think tank says Russian extradition requests keep targets from traveling More

US Lawmakers Weigh Turkish Anti-terror Moves

Turkey’s two-pronged campaign against Islamic State militants, Kurdish PKK forces provokes mixed reactions on Capitol Hill 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.
Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponentsi
X
Henry Ridgwell
July 28, 2015 9:53 PM
A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video Special Olympics Athletes Meet International Friends

The Special Olympics are underway in Los Angeles, California, with athletes from 165 countries participating in an event that gives people with intellectual disabilities the chance to take part in an international competition. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that for athletes and their families, it's also an opportunity to make new friends in an international setting.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs