UN Warns 350K Children Could Die in Drought by June

In Somalia, some 1.4M under age 5 are malnourished
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 13, 2022 6:25 PM CDT
UN Warns 350K Children Could Die in Drought by June
Somalis who fled drought-stricken areas of Somalia sit at a makeshift camp on the outskirts of the capital of Mogadishu in February.   (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh, File)

"The situation cannot be more dire," said Adam Abdelmoula, a UN humanitarian official. Unless something is done quickly about the drought in Somalia, Adam Abdelmoula said, "350,000 of the 1.4 million severely malnourished children in the country will perish." The drought is Somalia's worst in a decade, the BBC reports. With many parents unable to feed their children, almost half of those younger than 5 could face severe malnutrition by June.

Nearly 700,000 people have left their homes in search of food and water, per the UN, and the numbers are rising. Many older people wait for rain to resume or younger family members to bring water back to their villages. Somalia has gone through four cycles of heat and a lack of rain; 90% of the nation is dry, and many people haven't recovered from the 2017 drought. Humanitarian agencies have 3% the assistance they need. All over the country, new camps for displaced people are surfacing.

More than 50 children and mothers have gone to a malnutrition center in the town of Luuq that has room for 18 beds. Some children have died before they reached the center. "We are overloaded and operating beyond our full capacity," a nurse said. "We have been running short of medical supplies." People throughout the continent, including of the Horn of Africa, are suffering in the drought. The International Committee for the Red Cross estimates that at least 25% of Africans are facing a food security crisis. "I fear for my children," one woman said. The Guardian has photos documenting the situation. (More Somalia stories.)

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