With no improvement in the overall food security conditions expected before early 2012, about a million of children in drought-ridden Horn of Africa are at the risk of dying from malnourishment, UNICEF said in a statement on Sunday.
The Horn of Africa is in the grip of a major food crisis, with millions of people severely affected in drought-stricken areas of Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Uganda, according to the United Nations.
Seeing the severity of the situation, UNICEF has called for an immediate expansion of assistance across the Horn of Africa’s drought affected communities.
“In many of the poorest communities people are either too poor or too weak to be able to try to walk for help,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake, who was in Kenya to assess how the organization is responding to one of the worst droughts in decades to affect the Horn of Africa.
According to UNICEF, about 2 million children and nearly 11 million people have been affected from the ten-year drought situation in the region.
Thousands of women and children are fleeing central and southern Somalia every day and there are children who are surviving, if lucky, on one meal a day, comprised often only of palm nuts, and lactating mothers are not able to produce enough milk to feed their newborns, Lake said highlighting the ill effects of the breakdown of food pipeline across the area.
One in 10 children in parts of drought-hit Somalia is at risk of starving to death, twice as many as recently as March, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Wednesday. Malnutrition rates were believed to be significantly higher in other conflict-torn parts of central and southern Somalia, where few aid groups have been allowed to bring food relief.
Below are a few latest pictures of the Horn of Africa drought crisis:
A lactating mother is measured to see if she is malnourished at a nutritional centre near Lodwar in Turkana, Kenya, July 15, 2011. REUTERS
A Somali woman holds a malnourished baby in Banadir hospital in the capital Mogadishu, July 16, 2011. REUTERS/Feisal Omar
A woman holds her malnourished child inside a ward at the Banadir hospital in Somalia's capital Mogadishu, July 14, 2011. REUTERS/Feisal Omar
A woman holds a malnourished baby in Banadir hospital in Mogadishu, July 17, 2011. REUTERS/Feisal Omar
An internally displaced Somali woman holds her child inside their makeshift shelter after receiving traditional treatments in southern Mogadishu July 14, 2011. REUTERS/Feisal Omar
A woman holds her malnourished child on arrival at Banadir hospital in Mogadishu July 7, 2011. The United Nations says 2.8 million people in Somalia need emergency aid after the worst drought in 60 years hit the Horn of Africa region. In the worst-hit areas, one in three children is suffering from malnutrition. REUTERS/Ismail Taxta
A woman holds a malnourished baby in Banadir hospital in Mogadishu July 17, 2011. REUTERS/Feisal Omar