Somalia: UNICEF Warns Of Unprecedented Child Deaths

Peoples Gazette – UNICEF warns of unprecedented child deaths in Somalia amid historic drought

Thousands of severely malnourished boys and girls in Somalia are at risk of dying, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warned on Tuesday, urging donors to step up support amid historic drought.

“Without greater action and investment, we are facing the death of children on a scale not seen in half a century,” Spokesperson James Elder told journalists in Geneva.

A child is admitted to a health facility for treatment of severe acute malnutrition “every single minute of every single day”, he said.

A looming tragedy

Latest rates reveal some 44,000 admissions since August, or one child a minute.

“Severely malnourished children are up to 11 times more likely to die of diarrhea and measles than well-nourished children. With rates such as these, Somalia is on the brink of a tragedy at a scale not seen in decades,” said Mr. Elder.

UN agencies have been warning for months about the looming famine in the Horn of Africa, where the worst drought in 40 years is affecting more than 20 million people across several countries.

In Somalia, famine is projected in Baidoa and Burhakaba districts in Bay Region between this month and December, if aid does not reach those most in need, the UN humanitarian affairs office, OCHA, reported on Tuesday.

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