UNICEF (UN Children’s Fund) has airlifted five metric tons of emergency nutrition supplies and water-related equipment to Baidoa in southern Somalia, as part of its life-saving work to help drought-affected children in the country.
The most severe humanitarian emergency in the world today has been declared in the Horn of Africa, with children in several countries in the region facing a crisis caused by prolonged drought, soaring food prices and on-going conflict in Somalia.
Somalia is at the centre of the crisis with over half a million children in the country acutely malnourished and in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. The south of Somalia is the worst affected and in some areas one in three children is acutely malnourished.
UNICEF urgently needs US $31.9 million (NZ $ 38million) for the next three months alone, to rapidly scale up our life-saving efforts in East Africa to avoid the situation becoming even more desperate.
“We are ready to work anywhere in Somalia, provided we get unhindered access to reach the most vulnerable children in need” said Rozanne Chorlton, the UNICEF Representative to Somalia.
Further health supplies – enough to treat up to 100,000 people for three months – are en-route to Somalia. The new supplies will be able to treat common childhood illnesses such as diarrhoea and worm infestation.
“Resolving the lack of food aid and other resources to address food insecurity in the south of Somalia is of utmost urgency to alleviate the impact of the current crisis. However, food alone is not enough. Children and their families need health services, clean water, nutrition and an adequate level of care and protection.” said Ms. Chorlton.
UNICEF is one of the largest agencies in Somalia leading the provision of nutrition, water and sanitation, and education. In South Somalia, UNICEF and its partners have already provided basic health care services to nearly 900,000 people, and have provided water and sanitation to over a million. In the most affected areas of Ethiopia, UNICEF has already distributed food to almost 34,000 severely malnourished children, and ensured access to water and sanitation for over 280,000 people.
UNICEF NZ urgently needs funds to reach malnourished children in East Africa. For only $52 you could help feed a malnourished child for almost a month.
Please donate now at www.unicef.org.nz or call 0800 800 194.