By Sophie Peeters
As a famine continues to ravage Somalia following devasting drought conditions in the country, more than 1.8 million girls and boys under the age of five will suffer from acute malnutrition, according to the ‘Save the Children’ organization.
The country is facing the worst drought in forty years after below-average rainfall continues to reduce food production.
As a result, at least 6.5 million people, or nearly 40% of the population, need humanitarian assistance.
The United Nations last year warned of the impending famine in Somalia due to the worst drought situation in the last 40 years, with the sixth consecutive season of below-average rainfall expected to continue reducing food production and lower household incomes.
It is estimated that nearly 40% of the population of Somalia will need humanitarian assistance.
Children suffering from severe malnutrition
Those suffering the most from the crisis are young children, with about one in three children being severely malnourished.
Around 480,000 children are affected, with an increased risk of more dying every day, according to Save the Children.
‘Save the Children’ response
In response to the crisis, Save the Children are calling for more funding from the international community to deliver and provide life-saving aid, including providing water, caring for malnourished children, supporting education systems, offering health facilities, and providing material support to those who are most vulnerable.
“Although humanitarian efforts have so far averted a possible famine, the number of hungry and malnourished children across the country remains alarming,” said Mohamud Mohamed Hassan, Director of Save the Children in Somalia. “A global response is still needed to address immediate humanitarian needs and implement lasting solutions to the food crisis.”
“We are concerned that the increase in children experiencing acute malnutrition coincides with a reduction in humanitarian funding for Somalia and we’re warning of deadly consequences if funds are withdrawn,” he added.