More Supplies En Route to Somalia as UNICEF Scales Up Response

Monday 25 July 2011, 12:32PM
By UNICEF New Zealand

- UNICEF NZ Emergency Appeal or 0800 800 194 -

UNICEF (UN Children’s Fund) is preparing a second full charter airlift of emergency supplies in response to the Somalia famine and the wider East Africa food crisis. This is part of a massive scale-up in operations to reach children in the drought affected areas, which UNICEF estimates will cost USD$100m (NZD$115m) over the next six months.

More than 100 metric tonnes of emergency supplies, including medicines, midwifery kits and oral rehydration salts are being loaded from UNICEF’s Copenhagen supply warehouse and are scheduled to arrive in Nairobi on Monday for distribution.

“We are gearing up our logistics to deliver unprecedented supplies of therapeutic and supplementary foods across the Horn,” said Shanelle Hall, Director of UNICEF’s supply division. “If we are to save lives, we need to act now – to bring in massive quantities of medicines, vaccines, nutrition supplies into the region as quickly as we are able and then get them out to the children who need it most,” Hall said.

So far this month, by plane, truck and ship, UNICEF has delivered 1,300 metric tons of life saving supplies to some of the hardest hit areas in southern Somalia. Most recently a ship has arrived in Mogadishu carrying 200 tonnes of fortified milk and 1.7 million packages of high-calorie therapeutic peanut paste.

UNICEF is one of the largest agencies in Somalia leading the provision of nutrition, water and sanitation, and education. It is the main provider of high-calorie therapeutic food, and supports over 800 nutrition centres in Somalia, 500 of them in the south of the country. UNICEF is also providing basic health care services to nearly 900,000 people, as well as safe drinking water to over a million in Somalia.

"UNICEF is using every means possible to reach every child", says Elhadj As Sy, Regional Director for UNICEF Eastern and Southern Africa. "There simply can be no compromise on the objective to keep children and their families alive. Every life must count and we cannot afford to lose more lives to this crisis."

Insecticide-treated mosquito nets to prevent malaria and essential medicines including vaccines are also being airlifted to support massive vaccination campaigns that will be conducted over the coming weeks to prevent the outbreak of disease. To expand provision of safe water and access to sanitation, boreholes will be drilled and rehabilitated; water trucking and hygiene activities will be expanded.

Dennis McKinlay, Executive Director of UNICEF NZ, said, “With famine now declared in two regions of Southern Somalia and malnutrition rates at emergency levels in some regions across the Horn of Africa, almost 720,000 children are at risk of death. In total 2.23 million children in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia are estimated to be acutely malnourished.

“We are extremely grateful to New Zealanders for the support they are giving to UNICEF and those contributions are already making a difference, but we urgently need more funds to meet the enormous need. Every minute that children are without lifesaving support is the difference between life and death,” McKinlay said.

UNICEF NZ urgently needs funds to reach malnourished children in South Somalia and other countries in need in East Africa. Please donate now at or call 0800 800 194.