- Somalia has recorded an alarming 180,000 children suffering from acute malnutrition. UNICEF said it has recently scaled up its nutrition operation to reach more than 50,000 under five-year children.
According to a new survey carried out by Food Security Analysis Unit in Somalia during the last six months, malnutrition rate had risen by 11 percent. The UNICEF Representative to Somalia said the agency had managed to get donor backing, but added that recent increase in malnutrition rates called for an accelerated assistance and increased funds for effective expansion of programmes.
The UN children agency and its partners have just completed a second round of their Somali blanket feeding programme, which involves the distribution of UNIMIX-food supplement, rich with vitamins and minerals, to 54,000 under-five children in camps for internally displaced persons in Somalia's Afgoye Corridor and the capital, Mogadishu.
The conflict in Somali's capital and surrounding areas has in a way exacerbated the rate of malnutrition for IDP concentrated in refuge camps as people flood camps. The UN estimates that over 300,000 people are displaced and analyses indicate that the nutrition situation in Afgove is critical and complicated by limited access because of security situation in the country.
Somalia has in recent months witnessed killings of aid workers distributing food to camps and remotes parts of Somalia. The killings led to reduced distribution to the most dangerous parts of Somalia. According to the UN, 19 aid workers have been killed in Somalia this year while 13 others have been abducted, and this has forced aid workers scale down their distribution in remote Somali areas, where millions are starving.
Northern parts of Somalia are also hardest hit by deteriorating nutrition conditions, worsened by skyrocketing food prices and devaluation of the Somali shilling. "Urban poor displaced are most vulnerable populations with thousands of families from conflict affected south forced to seek temporary refuge in northern parts of the country," the UN report said.
In Bossovo camp, about 28,000 displaced people are located and global acute malnutrition rates have been recorded at 23.3 percent. A level above 15 percent is considered to constitute an emergency. Glakayo and Garowe camps are also recorded to have very critical global acute malnutrition rates.
Starting in August and throughout the remainder of the year, UNICEF and partners say they will provide rations of 10 kilos of UNIMIX a month per child to approximately 7,500 under-five children in Bossaso camps, as well as to children in Garowe and Galkayo camps, combined with a therapeutic feeding programme for severely malnourished children.
The last time Somalia's experienced severe famine was between 1991 and 1993, shortly after the fall of Dictator Mohamed Siad Barre. That famine swept through the nation, devastating crops, killing between 240,000 and 280,000 people and displacing up to 2 million, according to the UN's High Commissioner for Refugees.
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