With an estimated 1.25 million children across Southern Somalia in urgent need of life saving help and 640,000 acutely malnourished, UNICEF (UN Children’s Fund) says saving children's lives must be the top priority. This comes as the agency mounts a massive scale up of operations to reach children in Southern Somalia.
UNICEF is the single largest agency delivering therapeutic and supplementary nutrition services in Somalia, working through a partnership with about 60 non-governmental organizations in the South.
To reach children as quickly as possible, UNICEF, along with its partners, is using all avenues available to get supplies into the region. So far this month, the agency has brought in enough supplementary feeding supplies for 65,000 children. These supplies are being distributed by partners on the ground in South Somalia.
Three flights to Mogadishu, two to Galkayo, and a flight to Baidoa, as well as two ships to Mogadishu have delivered life-saving nutritional supplies. This includes a total amount of 653 metric tons of Corn Soya Blend, a nutritious food, which is enough to feed more than 65,000 vulnerable children. In addition, about 230 metric tons of therapeutic food was delivered to treat 16,000 severely malnourished children. Most of these nutritional supplies have already reached children in Mogadishu and the regions of Gedo, Middle Juba, Lower Juba, Bay and Lower Shabelle in Southern Somalia.
“The children of Southern Somalia desperately need our help. Too many of them have already died and many others are at great risk unless we act now,” said Rozanne Chorlton, UNICEF Somalia Representative. “Families shouldn’t have to leave their homes, mothers and their children shouldn’t have to endure days of perilous journey in search of food and water and then face a life of uncertainty in a camp. All our energy should be focused on saving lives.”
UNICEF plans to further boost its supply pipeline to support the existing 325 supplementary feeding centres, 16 stabilization centres and 201 outpatient therapeutic feeding centres as well as expand outreach services to reach children in remote areas. UNICEF will start blanket supplementary feeding for 150,000 households per month, over the next two months.
“Although we have challenges, we are reaching children. For instance, this week, our partners were able to reach 3,550 children with a combination of Corn Soya Blend and ready-to-use therapeutic food in hard-to-reach areas in Qansadheere, Bay region,” said Ms. Chorlton.
Next week, a vessel carrying 410 metric tons of Corn Soya Blend to provide blanket feeding for over 20,000 families is expected to dock in Mogadishu. The ship will also deliver F-75 therapeutic milk and ready-to-use therapeutic food to treat more than 7300 severely malnourished children.
UNICEF estimates it will need USD $117 million over the next six months to reach children in all of Somalia’s drought affected areas in the south with emergency and preventative assistance. The total funding requirement for UNICEF’s work in the Horn of Africa is USD $300m, with a current shortfall of USD$200m.
UNICEF NZ urgently needs funds to reach malnourished children in Southern Somalia and other countries in need in East Africa. Please donate now at www.unicef.org.nz or call 0800 800 194.