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

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community 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.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid