> Africa: Horn of
Africa food crisis far from over
Wednesday Oct 26th, 2011
Nairobi, Kenya - The massive international response to the child survival
crisis in the Horn of Africa has already shown some positive results, but
much more needs to be done, the UN child health agency, UNICEF, said in a
report, released Tuesday in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital. It said that there
was an urgent need to save hundreds of thousands of children at risk of
dying from malnutrition and disease in Somalia. UNICEF said, according to a
progress report three months after famine was declared in parts of Somalia,
'We have saved many children in Somalia, in the refugee camps in
neighbouring countries as well as in the other regions in Kenya, Ethiopia
and Djibouti hit by prolonged drought. 'They have also been been hit by
escalating food prices and conflict," said Elhadj As Sy, UNICEF Regional
Director for Eastern and Southern Africa. "Due to the magnitude of the
humanitarian crisis, we have to increase our immediate response and at the
same time lay the foundation for long-term development to prevent a similar
catastrophe from happening again."
"We need more support to scale up even more of our integrated interventions
in health, nutrition, food security, water and sanitation, education and
child protection, to create a better future for the children in the Horn of
Some 13.3 million people need assistance. More than 450,000 Somalis have
fled to the refugee camps around Dadaab in northeastern Kenya, including
100,000 since June.
Another 183,000 Somalis have fled to Ethiopia, including more than 120,000,
to the refugee camps in Dollo Ado, 20,000 refugees went to Djibouti, said
the agency in a progress report three months after famine was declared in
parts of Somalia.
Thousands of children have already died and more than 320,000 - half of them
in Central and South Somalia - are so severely malnourished. They may perish
as well in the coming weeks and months, if relief operations are not scaled
The report found the international response was extraordinary.
Thanks to all the support, in the past three months UNICEF and partners
across the Horn have achieved important results on which to build,
Almost 10,000 metric tonnes of life-saving UNICEF supplies delivered to the
Horn of Africa by air, land and sea routes.
About 108,000 severely malnourished children treated through therapeutic
feeding centres, while 1.2 million children vaccinated against measles.
The report also found that community-based systems like the Productive
Safety Net Programme and the Health Extension Programme in Ethiopia have
been instrumental in preventing higher death rates.
In Central and Southern Somalia, where access for humanitarian agencies is
limited, UNICEF has been able to reach 350,000 people with supplementary
feeding and some 30,000 families with cooked meals, while they were on their
way to the refugee camps in Kenya and Ethiopia.
Forecasts for the October-to-December rainy season indicate that food
security may improve in Kenya and Ethiopia, where rains have recently began.
Still, experience also shows that seasonal rains, after prolonged drought,
increase the risk of flooding and outbreaks of deadly diseases such as
cholera, malaria and pneumonia.
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Received on Wed Oct 26 2011 - 14:16:27 EDT