UNICEF e-newsletter

Help UNICEF prevent 40,000 child deaths in the Horn of Africa 23 May 2006

Unless we act quickly, thousands of children in the Horn of Africa will face the prospect of a slow death by starvation in the coming months.

A two-year drought has already killed much of the livestock of nomadic pastoralists who roam the vast region in search of water and grazing land for their herds. UNICEF fears that the pastoralists and their children could be next.

To heighten public awareness of the drought crisis, UNICEF has launched a multimedia report, Child Alert: Crisis in the Horn of Africa, as well as a humanitarian funding appeal for $80 million. The Child Alert dramatically illustrates that 40,000 children under the age of five are already acutely malnourished and need help right now.

UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Rima Salah released the report in Geneva. She noted that recent heavy rains had actually deepened the crisis by causing malaria and waterborne diseases in some areas, while providing only limited relief in others.

“This drought has killed up to half the animal population of pastoralists in the Horn of Africa,” said Ms. Salah. “Rain doesn’t bring that back.”

As a result of the ongoing crisis, some 8 million people – including 1.6 million children under five – are in dire need of assistance in Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia.

The Child Alert asserts that the repetitive cycle of drought crises in the Horn can be broken with consistent access to mobile services adapted to the pastoralist way of life, such as the following UNICEF-supported programmes:

  • Mobile health teams that treat drought-related illnesses, immunize against diseases like measles and provide vitamin A supplements to boost children's immune systems
  • Training of teachers who can travel with families as they move around the region.

UNICEF and its partners are also providing therapeutic and supplementary feeding for malnourished children and women, as well as clean water and sanitation to prevent outbreaks of diarrhoea and cholera.

With your help, we can build on these life-saving initiatives to avert an even greater catastrophe.

As always, thank you for your continuing support.

For every child
Health, Education, Equality, Protection

Horn of Africa Child Alert

Through text, videos, photos, interactive maps and more, the Child Alert demonstrates the need for immediate aid to children and families in the five Horn countries.

Video: UNICEF correspondent Dan Thomas reports on the crisis facing pastoralist children in the Horn of Africa.

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Related Links:

News note: Despite rains, 40,000 children still face death [with video]

Child Alert: Horn of Africa report [PDF]


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