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Record levels of child hunger reported in the Horn of Africa

Anti-poverty group Action Against Hunger is sounding the alarm over drought-stricken and war-torn Somalia

The international charity Action Against Hunger has reported the highest level of severe child malnutrition in Somalia since it began working in the country three decades ago. The organization highlighted a 55% increase in admissions to the centers it operates in the country from January to April this year, compared to the same period in 2021, in its press release on Friday, urging governments to do more to fund humanitarian efforts in the impoverished, war-torn African nation.

The organization attributes soaring food prices, unprecedented drought and civil war to rising hunger. “High food prices and limited access to clean water have led to an increase in severe malnutrition and alarming outbreaks of deadly waterborne diseases like cholera,” said Ahmed Khalif, national director of Action Against Hunger in Somalia.

He expressed “deep concern about the potential impact of increasing hunger on peace and stability in Somalia.” 

“We don’t have enough funds, medicine or beds for everyone who needs them,” Khalif said.

The report concluded that only 15% of Somalia’s humanitarian funding needs have been met this year, based on UN data, and called for increased and more flexible funding, as well as humanitarian access. without hindrance.

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Action Against Hunger reports that in addition to the doubling of fuel prices, the conflict in Ukraine has had an impact on food prices.

For example, the conflict threatens the supply of Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF), a type of groundnut paste that restores malnourished children to full health in just six weeks. The report cites Unicef’s prediction that prices of RUTF could increase by 16% over the next six months, with prices for transportation and the ingredients used to make it (oil, peanuts and sugar) continuing to rise. increase.

Action Against Hunger estimates that 6.8 million children suffer from acute malnutrition in the Horn of Africa, a region that also includes Ethiopia and Kenya. According to estimates released Wednesday by international charities Oxfam and Save the Children, 23 million people in the three countries are suffering from extreme hunger, and “one person probably dies of hunger every 48 seconds”, Oxfam said in a press release.

Action Against Hunger says it has worked in Somalia since 1992 and currently runs 51 treatment centers across the country. He describes his work as “preventing and treating hunger, improving water and sanitation and strengthening health systems”.

An unprecedented drought has killed up to 30% of Somali livestock since 2021.

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Record levels of child hunger reported in the Horn of Africa
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Somalia descended into civil war in 1991, as the clans that overthrew the military government of General Mohamed Siad Barre quarrelled. The initial US intervention to protect UN peacekeepers resulted in a clash with one of the warring factions and the battle for Mogadishu in October 1993. The US left Somalia in March 1995, returning a decade later as part of the “war on terror”. ‘.

Al-Shabaab, which aims to overthrow the government and impose Sharia law on the country, carries out frequent bombings across the country.

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