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Famine on the retreat in southern Somalia, millions still remain in need

By Chris Niles

NEW YORK, 18 November 2011—UNICEF has welcomed the news that famine is on the retreat in southern Somalia.

18 November 2011: UNICEF correspondent Chris Niles reports on the state of famine in Somalia.  Watch in RealPlayer


Famine was declared in six areas of southern Somalia in July.

According to the latest report from the United Nations’ Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit, famine has been beaten in three areas. Middle Shabelle Afgovye and Mogadishu’s Internally Displaced Persons population continue to remain afflicted by famine, but not Lower Shabelle, Bakool and Bay.

“Thanks to the strong support from donors around the world, thousands of children’s lives have been saved,” said UNICEF Representative in Somalia Sikander Khan.

UNICEF plays key role

UNICEF and its partners played a key role in the emergency response. Nearly ten thousand metric tonnes of supplies have been delivered to the region, as Somalis fled their own country to take refuge in Kenya and Ethiopia.

Around one million children have been given nutritional help, including 126,131 who were severely malnourished. UNICEF and its partners vaccinated 1.2 million children against measles. They treated 1.4 million people at UNICEF-supported health centres and ensured 2.2 million had safe drinking water.

© UNICEF/NYHQ2011-1200/Holt
A child who has been displaced from the Lower Shabelle area stand at the entrance to their family’s makeshift shelter in the Wardhiglay area of Mogadishu, the capital.

However, the situation remains dire for hundreds of thousands of Somalis and much more money is needed to cater to their needs.

More money needed

UNICEF estimates that 250,000 people face imminent starvation and four million are in need of life-saving assistance.

“Let’s make no mistake about this on-going situation,” stressed Mr. Khan. “Children’s lives are still in imminent danger. The combination of malnutrition, killer diseases and escalating conflict continue to make it a matter of life and death for with no respite for them for 2012.”

UNICEF urgently needs $62 million to continue its critical work in the Horn of Africa through the end of the year. In Somalia alone, UNICEF will need $300 million to continue saving lives through 2012.

“We now call on the continued generosity of all of our donors and friends to provide sustained support the children of Somalia require to make it out of this crisis,” said Mr. Khan.



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