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Nairobi/Brussels, 6 August 2015: EU supports UNICEF’s lifesaving work in Somalia by €2.5 million

6 August 2015, NAIROBI/BRUSSELS – The European Union has supported UNICEF with €2.5 million in humanitarian funding to help provide lifesaving interventions in nutrition and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) for Somali children.

Malnutrition continues to threaten the lives of thousands of children across Somalia and the situation is aggravated by constrained humanitarian access in southern and central regions of the country. Based on the latest nutrition assessments, at any one point in time there are 38,000 severely malnourished children in need of lifesaving therapeutic assistance, with 150,000 cases expected over the course of this year. In Bulo Burto in the central Hiran region, one in five children is severely malnourished. A child suffering from severe acute nutrition is nine times as likely to die as a healthy child.

The funds are being channelled via the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO).

“The children of Somalia continue to bear the brunt of this complex emergency,” said Lars Oberhaus, head of ECHO's office in Somalia. “We need to reach those children whose lives are in danger with timely treatment, ensure they do not suffer from killer diseases caused by unclean water and that the most vulnerable families are able to provide their children with the basics they need.”

The EU funding will help UNICEF to reach children suffering from severe acute malnutrition by providing them with ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF), a nutritious peanut-based paste with added vitamins and minerals. The aid will be channelled through Outpatient Therapeutic Programme (OTP) Centres where they will receive health checks and vaccinations. Severely malnourished children with medical complications - such as severe dehydration and vomiting - will be admitted to stabilization centres, where they will receive specialised inpatient treatment and therapeutic care using therapeutic milks. At present, UNICEF is supporting about 239 OTP centres and fourteen Stabilisation Centres across Somalia.

“The funding is critical to help us save lives,” said Steven Lauwerier, UNICEF Representative to Somalia. “Despite improvements on many fronts, the risk of children dying from malnutrition continues to be unacceptably high in many parts of Somalia. This funding will not only help us address the most urgent needs, but also contribute to UNICEF and our partners’ work in building the resilience of the most vulnerable households and communities.”

UNICEF’s WASH response for emergency and conflict-affected populations, particularly those living in the camps for the internally displaced in Central and Southern Somalia, will also be strengthened with this funding. Hygiene kits consisting of jerry cans, water buckets, soap and water purification tablets will be procured and pre-positioned at ten UNICEF regional supply hubs - enough to meet the needs of 17,000 households in time of emergency.

Additionally, the funds will go towards UNICEF’s cash transfer programme providing unconditional monthly payments for vulnerable households which are headed by women or children or which include orphans or many members not working. About 2,900 such households will receive an additional two-monthly cash payments to help them meet basic needs and access essential services during the dry season following the rains towards the end of the year.

UNICEF has been working in Somalia since 1972 when its first office opened in Mogadishu. Today UNICEF has several offices across the country, including Mogadishu, Baidoa, Galkayo, Garowe and Hargeisa. Together with over 100 international and national NGOs and community-based organizations, UNICEF delivers services in Health, Nutrition, WASH, Education and Child Protection, as well as responds to emergencies and supports peacebuilding and development. UNICEF-EU web portal:

About EU Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection
The European Union and its Member States are the world's leading donor of humanitarian aid. Relief assistance is an expression of European solidarity towards people in need all around the world. It aims to save lives, prevent and alleviate human suffering, and safeguard the integrity and human dignity of populations affected by natural disasters and man-made crises. The European Commission ensures rapid and effective delivery of EU relief assistance through its two main instruments: humanitarian aid and civil protection. The Commission, through its Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO), helps over 120 million victims of conflict and disasters every year. For more information, please visit ECHO's website.

For further information, please contact:

UNICEF Somalia: Susannah Price
+254 722 719867;

UNICEF Brussels: Rebekka Opfermann
+32 2 513 2251;

ECHO: Anouk Delafortrie – Regional Information Officer
+254 20 297 2301(d) +254 722 791 604 (m);



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