News / Africa

UNICEF Issues Urgent Appeal for Children in Somalia

Internally displaced children stand outside a decrepit building they are using as a temporary home in the Hodan district of Somalia's capital Mogadishu, September 6, 2011.
Internally displaced children stand outside a decrepit building they are using as a temporary home in the Hodan district of Somalia's capital Mogadishu, September 6, 2011.
Lisa Schlein

The United Nations Children's Fund warns tens of thousands of children in famine-stricken Somalia could die in the coming weeks if they do not receive emergency assistance. UNICEF says life-saving therapeutic feeding programs must be urgently expanded.

The United Nations reports children are bearing the brunt of the disastrous drought and famine in the Horn of Africa. U.N. aid agencies report the situation is particularly bleak for children in Somalia.  

The U.N. Children’s Fund says 1.5 million children in the south are in need of immediate humanitarian assistance. UNICEF spokeswoman Marixie Mercado said this is half the total number of people facing hunger in the south of the country.

“As of August, 450,000 children between six months and five years old are estimated to be acutely malnourished, of which 190,000 are estimated to have the most severe level of malnutrition, when they are up to nine times more likely to die than a healthy child," said Mercado. "And, right now, in most regions of southern Somalia, one in six children is severely malnourished.”

Dire situation

Without urgent help, Mercado warns these children could die in a matter of weeks. However, she adds, once they are treated, these children can recover quickly.

The United Nations reported this week that famine has spread to a sixth region in Somalia. It says a total of 750,000 people are facing starvation over the next four months as famine conditions continue to spread.

UNICEF is supporting around 800 feeding centers across Somalia, including about 500 in the south. Mercado says the agency plans to more than double the number of severely malnourished children receiving aid from 7,500 a month to 17,000 a month.

Extensive reach

She said UNICEF aims to reach every child and his or her family with food aid. Mercado said the goal is to reach 200,000 families per month over the next six months.

“We plan to reach over two million children, and more mothers and children through these nutrition centers that we support with other health services. And, we are doing also support for water and sanitation again through these community nutrition centers, as well as supporting IDP [Internally Displaced Persons] populations within Mogadishu and people on the road basically leaving in search of assistance elsewhere,” said Mercado.

Children most at risk

Hundreds of thousands of Somalis have gone to Ethiopia and Kenya in search of food and other assistance. Data collected by the U.N. refugee agency in Ethiopia finds Somali children are the biggest victims of the refugee crisis in the Horn of Africa.

The survey shows children under the age of 18 are the largest refugee group, accounting for 80 percent of more than 120,000 refugees in Ethiopia’s Dollo Ado region.

The UNHCR reports the Somali refugee children, like children in Somalia, are in very poor health. It says the high mortality rate among children with severe acute malnutrition and diseases is of great concern.



You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact 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.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs