UN says over 1.8 mln children affected by drought in Horn of Africa

08:33, June 03, 2011      

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More than 1.8 million children under the age of five are now in need of humanitarian assistance in the Horn of Africa, the UN children's agency, UNICEF said on Thursday.

UNICEF Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa, Elhadj As Sy said the latest drought, in combination with spiraling fuel and food prices, has further deteriorated the nutritional status of children.

"Beyond our emergency response, we have to strengthen children' s and their families' resilience to help them cope better with the recurrent drought situations in the region," Elhadj As Sy said in a statement issued in Nairobi. According to UNICEF, the current total number of people in need of humanitarian assistance in southern and south-eastern Ethiopia stands at 3.2 million.

In both Somalia and north-eastern Kenya some 2.4 million people are facing an acute food and livelihood crisis.

Another 670,000people are affected in northern Uganda and 120, 000 in Djibouti, bringing the total number of people in these countries who need help in terms of nutrition, health and water to 8.8 million.

"In addition to short term food, water and nutritional support there is a need for more effective policy, programmatic and governance actions to bolster populations within these difficult livelihood environments," Elhadj As Sy said.

"The effects of climate change are increasingly felt in the region, and it is particularly the children who bear the brunt."

The crisis led to a sharp increase in the number of malnourished children. The highest percentage can be found in southern Somalia and northern Kenya, where one in four children is acutely malnourished.

This is far above the emergency level of 15 per cent as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO). These children are facing a significantly higher risk of dying, and when they survive, their physical and social development will be hampered. The most affected areas of this latest drought are in central and southern Somalia, southern and south-eastern Ethiopia, Djibouti, northern and eastern Kenya as well as parts of Uganda.

Source: Xinhua
 
 
     
 
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(Editor:石希)

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