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Severe child malnutrition up 300% amid Somalia drought

July 8, 2022 at 8:02 pm

Somali boys wait in line at a World Food program ‘wet food’ distribution center in central Mogadishu [Giles Clarke/Getty Images]

The number of children in Somalia who needed treatment for the most dangerous form of malnutrition surged 300 per cent in the first six months of 2022, according to humanitarian agency Save the Children, Anadolu News Agency reports.

“As Somalia grapples with the worst drought spell in recent history, more than 200 children under the age of five have died of severe acute malnutrition since January,” Adan Farah, the group’s Humanitarian Adviser for Somalia, told Anadolu Agency.

Estimates suggest around half of Somalia’s population of some 16 million have been directly or indirectly affected by what is one of the most extreme droughts in the country in four decades.

More than 7 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance and nearly 1 million – a majority of them children and women – have been displaced.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has warned that Somalia is witnessing “catastrophic food insecurity” for the first time since 2017.

An unprecedented fourth consecutive failed rainy season in eight regions of Somalia has pushed affected families to the brink of famine, according to the UN agency.

Farah explained that the severe drought and its impact on food security and availability has left families unable to feed children in affected areas more than once a day.

“The lack of proper diet and gap in food intake is making children severely and acutely malnourished,” he added. ​​​​​​​

UN: Somalia on brink of fatal famine