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

US States Where Women Work for Free

Women earn less than men in all 50 states More

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

At a recent even in Seoul, border communities promoted benefits of increased cooperation and North Korean defectors shared stories of life since the war More

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows Fight to Death Against IS

In wide-ranging interview, Fuad Masum describes new type of fight that will take time to win 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.
Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
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.

VOA Blogs