The humanitarian children’s organization UNICEF has airlifted emergency nutritional supplies to Somalia’s southern region as part of its life-saving efforts to help children suffering from worsening malnutrition.
The organization says Somalia is the epicenter of acute malnutrition because of extreme instability in the country due to conflict and drought.
Rozanne Chorlton is the UNICEF representative to Somalia. She said they are seeing elevated rates of child malnutrition in Mogadishu and in families coming out of regions in southern Somalia, across the border to Ethiopia and Kenya.
Chorlton also says new arrivals to the refugee camps in the area show very high rates of malnutrition.
She said, “we know that the rates in southern Somalia were already high, but we can see now that they are increasing. We’ve seen rates of 45% at the Ethiopian refugee camp and around 33% in the Kenyan camp. These are higher than the rates in Somalia two or three months ago.”
Chorlton says they are seeing a worsening situation in southern Somalia, “to the extent we calculate that over one-half million children are actually malnourished.”