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Wednesday, 03 August 2011

UNICEF: A greater humanitarian response is needed in the Horn of Africa

As the crisis in the Horn of Africa deepens, the United Nations has warned that all of southern Somalia could slip into famine in the next two months. Hundreds of thousands of lives have been lost already, and many more are at stake, yet the international community remains slow in its humanitarian response.

In all, more than 11 million people desperately need help in the nations of eastern Africa stricken by drought, conflict and rising food prices. If the world doesn’t act quickly enough, some 566,000 children fighting severe malnutrition could lose their struggle to survive.

Among the most urgent needs in the crisis response are therapeutic food for malnourished children, safe water for tankering in drought-stricken areas, bed nets to prevent malaria, and family kits for people on the move – like the thousands of refugees who are crossing into Kenya from Somalia. Safe havens and learning spaces for children are priorities, as well. […]

Despite repeated warnings from many UN agencies that the situation in the Horn of Africa was critical, the response from donors – both public and private – has been limited. To date, UNICEF faces a funding gap of more than $200 million for its emergency operations in the region, including over $120 million for Somalia alone.

Source: UNICEF