The Horn of Africa is dealing with a pointy rise in baby deaths because the meals disaster deepens

“If the world does not look away from the war in Ukraine and does not act immediately, there will be an explosion of child mortality in the Horn of Africa,” he insisted. Rania Dagash, UNICEF Deputy Regional Director for East and South Africa, at the UN regular press briefing in Geneva.

“Focusing on Ukraine must not lead to the neglect of other crises and, ultimately, to further loss of life,” she said, adding that only a third of the $ 250 million needed to avert the disaster had been met.

The lives of the most vulnerable are already threatened by malnutrition and hunger

After four consecutive seasons of lack of rainfall, the situation in the Horn of Africa is worrying. Somalia has 386,000 children in need of urgent treatment for life-threatening malnutrition.

These numbers now exceed 340,000 children who needed treatment during the famine of 2011. months, ”added Dagash, adding that more than 1.7 million children in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia urgently need treatment for severe acute malnutrition.

In a broader sense, “the lives of children in the Horn of Africa are also at risk for the war in Ukraine.” Somalia alone imported 92% of its wheat from Russia and Ukraine, but supply lines are now blocked.

Victims of the climate crisis

According to UNICEF, the war is exacerbating spiraling global food and fuel prices. This means that many people in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia can no longer afford to buy the basic food they need to survive.

But in practice, donor funding has been generous, but it does not reach the required $ 250 million. “We only have a third of what we need this year. “We call on the international community, led by the G7 meeting in Germany in a few weeks’ time, to set aside additional new means to save lives,” Dagash said.

UNICEF also urges G7 leaders to commit to swift action in future emergencies and to invest in long-term resilience activities such as nutrition, water, education and money transfer programs. “Somali children are currently living at the forefront of the climate crisis – this will not subside – we need a meaningful shift from the donor community so that we can adequately support families through these cyclical climate shocks,” said UNICEF chief.

© UNICEF / Omid Fazel

Rania Dagash, UNICEF’s Deputy Regional Director for East and South Africa, (left) meets with a malnourished mother and twins at the Dollow Medical Center in Somalia.

Don’t wait for a famine

In the face of this worrying situation in the Horn of Africa, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and other United Nations agencies have responded by channeling limited resources to famine prevention measures. Partners, authorities and local communities have stepped up their activities, refocused on famine prevention responses and targeted the most vulnerable people in areas of greatest need.

The FAO assists rural families by providing money transfers to purchase basic necessities such as food, water and medicine, as well as livelihoods. It also provides information and analysis on food security and water monitoring through its Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit and its water and water information management programs in Somalia.

According to the World Food Program (WFP), the world should not wait for the official famine to act quickly and on a large scale – because then it would be too late. “Hundreds of thousands of lives are already in danger. Immediate action is needed to avert a humanitarian catastrophe, “said El-Khidir Daloum, WFP’s representative in Somalia.

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