Somalia's severe drought endangers 300,000 malnourished children
April 01,2017   By:Xinhua
NAIROBI, April 1, 2017 -- The worsening drought in Somalia has put the lives of 300,000 children at risk of death and starvation as the country confronts one of its worst droughts since 2011, a global aid agency said on Friday.
Simon Nyabwengi, National Director of World Vision International-Somalia Programme, told Xinhua that the drought situation is worsened by the lack of funding to address a growing humanitarian catastrophe.
"Failure of two consecutive rainy seasons, Gu (short) and Deyr (long) has brought severe drought to Somalia since 2015. The continuous failure of rain throughout 2016 has made the situation even worse," Nyabwengi said.
He said the drought which has hit large parts of Somalia has caused a critical shortage of water, forcing children, women and men to walk long distances in search of drinking water, mostly from contaminated sources.
The consumption of the contaminated water has been attributed to an outbreak of cholera and the Acute Watery Diarrhea (AWD).
At least 875 people were reported to have been affected by the outbreak which has claimed the lives of 66 people in Southern Somalia's Jubbaland State.
The World Vision official said the drought has particularly taken a heavy toll on children. The children mostly lack access to key sources of nutritious food, such as milk because of the ongoing drought.
This has left the children more vulnerable to starvation and death. Somalia's efforts to attract the attention of international donors to its drought have not gained momentum.
According to World Vision, only 20 percent of Somalia's required emergency funding has been received, leaving millions of people at the risk of famine.
Somalia humanitarian operational plan is less than 20 percent funded. Approximately 825 million U.S. dollars is required to reach 5.5 million Somalis facing possible famine by June.
Nyabwengi said urgent action at this stage has a high chance of saving over 300,000 children who are acutely malnourished as well as over 6 million people facing possible starvation.
The charity said the drought has caused several disruptions, including new population movement trends. More people are moving from the regions in Madug, Nugal and Puntland towards Bari, near the Red Sea, in search of pasture.
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