Medical & Health

Malnutrition has killed hundreds of children in drought-hit Somalia: UNICEF

At least 730 children have died in nutrition centers across Somalia this year, the UN Children’s Fund said on Tuesday, warning of a famine in the coming months.


“Malnutrition has reached crisis levels – 1.5 million children, nearly half of the under-five population, are likely to have acute malnutrition,’’ Wafaa Saeed, UNICEF’s Somalia representative, told a media briefing in Geneva.


She said the number of children who have perished from malnutrition could even be much higher than as many deaths go unreported.


Somalia is witnessing one of its worst droughts in the country’s recent history that has already claimed several lives and displaced over 1 million people.


On Monday, UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths announced that famine was knocking on the door in Somalia.


Addressing a news conference in the capital Mogadishu, Griffiths said 213,000 people are living in “famine-like conditions” in the Horn of Africa country.


Griffiths said he was shocked to the core during his few days in Somalia, seeing the level of pain and suffering many Somalis endure. “Famine is at the door, and today we are receiving a final warning,” he added.


UNICEF said it is worried about disease outbreaks in Somalia whose history shows that when high levels of severe acute malnutrition in children combine with deadly outbreaks of disease, child mortality rises dramatically – with tragic consequences.


Source: Anadolu Agency