12.01.2022 – 06:00
Save the Children Deutschland e.V.
Baidoa, Somalia (ots)
Nearly half of children under five in the Baidoa District in the Bay Region of southwest Somalia suffer from chronic malnutrition, which limits their physical and mental growth, notes Save the Children.
The latest figures show the severity of the prolonged and worsening drought in Somalia and the dwindling ability of families to adequately feed their children. Save the Children expects the life-threatening drought to worsen in the coming months.
The data, which assessed the nutritional status of a random sample of approximately 860 children aged 6 months to 5 years in the Baidoa District between October and November 2021, showed an increase in chronic malnutrition rates from 30 percent in 2019 to 48 percent in 2021.
Chronic malnutrition, which causes stunted growth, is caused by poor diet, repeated infections, and a lack of psychosocial stimulation during a child’s early years. It is associated with irreversible long-term consequences for children, and intellectual development is also impaired.
The devastating drought is already affecting more than 90 percent of the country, with southern and central Somalia hardest hit. The drought has destroyed livestock and farms, dried up waterholes, and led to mass starvation and displacement.
“Our farm has been destroyed and all of our harvests have failed,” says Ayaan * (42), who recently had to give up her farm in a village in the Baidoa District and sought refuge in a refugee camp with her eight children. “We used to water our yard with rainwater, but in April it didn’t rain and all the wells dried up. We didn’t have water to irrigate our crops, so we couldn’t farm our land. After our crops failed, we decided we to move to Baidoa. ” Ayaan’s * three-year-old baby Mohammed * was found to be malnourished in the camp.
“I am a doctor and have seen many diseases, but the effects of this prolonged drought on the fragile bodies and souls of young children are terrifying,” says Dr. Binyam Gebru, Deputy Country Director for Program Development and Quality at Save the Children in Somalia. “We see five-year-olds as tall as two-year-olds and children who sleep all day because they don’t have the strength to stand up and walk. It is particularly shocking to see the confusion among ranchers. They are one of them resilient people in the world and are used to walking up to 200 km in times of drought to find grazing land for their animals. Now they follow the well-trodden paths to wells and watering holes, only to find the shriveled carcasses of animals in the dried-up river beds We fear that the dire conditions of 2016/17, which led to long-lasting misery for children, will repeat themselves if funds are not released now. ”
At least $ 1.5 billion is urgently needed to protect vulnerable children and their families across Somalia and to give them the food, health care and education they need to survive this crisis.
Save the Children calls on the Somali government to make humanitarian aid a priority and to ensure that the current political blockades between the government and member states do not prevent humanitarian aid from reaching children and their families.
Save the Children has worked in Somalia for over 60 years, helping affected communities in Somalia cope with the immediate humanitarian impact of the drought. We provide much-needed water supplies, treat malnourished children, support education systems so that children displaced by the drought don’t miss classes, operate health care facilities, and provide cash and livelihood support for the most vulnerable.
Save the Children Germany supports the Federal Foreign Office in providing humanitarian services in the areas of health, nutrition, WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) and child protection as well as money transfers for needy families with children in Somalia. With the support of the Federal Foreign Office, we were able to increase funding to a total of EUR14,550,000 due to the current drought. The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) is funding projects in Somalia with an amount of around EUR21,000,000 as part of the transitional aid through cooperation with Save the Children and is pursuing the goal of supporting internally displaced young people in Baidoa, Garowe and Mogadishu to gain improved income opportunities and social participation.
* Name changed for protection
Additional material (photos and video material) for download:
Ayaan * and Baby Mohammed *, Baidoa, Somalia: https://www.contenthubsavethechildren.org/Package/2O4C2SSXPRQ4
Locust plague in Puntland, Somalia: https://www.contenthubsavethechildren.org/Package/2O4C2SSDLMIR
Infographic on Malnutrition in Somalia: https://www.contenthubsavethechildren.org/Package/2O4C2SSXPXPX
Under © Save the Children, the material can also be used free of charge for passing on to third parties.
About Save the Children: In the post-war year 1919, the British social reformer Eglantyne Jebb founded Save the Children to save children in Germany and Austria from starvation. Today the world’s largest independent children’s rights organization is active in around 120 countries. Save the Children stands up for children in wars, conflicts and disasters. For a world that respects children’s rights. A world in which all children live healthy and safe and can grow up and learn freely and independently – for over 100 years.
Save the Children Deutschland e.V.
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Original content from: Save the Children Deutschland eV, transmitted by news aktuell