Unicef: 300 000 kids risk death in E Africa

2011-08-20 12:33

New York - More than 300 000 children in the Horn of Africa are severely malnourished "and in imminent risk of dying" because of drought and famine, the head of the UN children's agency said Friday.

The United Nations says tens of thousands of people already have died in Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti and has warned that the famine hasn't peaked. More than 12 million people in the region need food aid, according to the UN.

"The crisis in the Horn of Africa is a human disaster becoming a human catastrophe," Unicef Executive Director Anthony Lake told reporters.

In Somalia alone, he said, 1.4 million children are affected, an estimated 390,000 are suffering from malnutrition, and nearly 140 000 in the south-central region are facing imminent death from "severe acute malnutrition".

Somalia, which has been engulfed in conflict for nearly two decades, has been hardest-hit with famine in five regions. The southern and central parts of the country, which are mainly under control of al-Shabab extremists, have been worst affected because of the Islamic group's refusal to allow key humanitarian organisations to deliver aid. Among the groups that have been blocked is the UN World Food Programme, the world's major aid provider.

While Unicef, the Red Crescent and other organisations are working in the south-central region, providing food and water and operating nutrition centres, Lake predicted "the crisis will get worse".

"Let me warn that by the next rainfalls in October, we project that all of central and south Somalia will suffer the same extreme food and nutrition crises as is the case in the worst areas there today, with twice as many children - almost 300 000 - in imminent peril," he said.

Donors have contributed over $1bn to help famine victims, but UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appealed again on Friday - World Humanitarian Day - for $1bn more.

"Humanitarians are on the ground saving lives," he said. "But we are still not reaching all the people who need our help, and the crisis has still not peaked."

Lake said children are the most vulnerable and suffer most in disasters like the current drought and famine.

"In many ways this is a children's crisis and their plight demands our most urgent, bold and sustained response," he said. He added: "We are in a fight against time."

  • Marcell - 2011-08-20 12:45

    Human disaster brought about by over breeding by humans. This will just get worse in years to come as humans keep on interfering with nature.

      Paul Eccles - 2011-08-20 14:57

      Worst comments I've ever seen. I'm utterly shocked that people can say such callous things like @Joe here.

      Doublepost - 2011-08-20 15:51

      Ag Eccles, have a cookie and STARVE SOME MORE!

      Marcell - 2011-08-20 16:10

      @Paul. Donate everything you have to Somalia. See if they will thank you.

      Paul Eccles - 2011-08-20 17:32

      Your comments are all totally cynical.

  • Doublepost - 2011-08-20 12:59

    "Let me warn that by the next rainfalls in October, we project that all of central and south Somalia will suffer the same extreme food and nutrition crises as is the case in the worst areas there today, with twice as many children - almost 300 000 - in imminent peril," he said. Ag shame, I hear that Baker's are coming out with a new cookie brand! It's called, STARVE SOME MORE!

  • Joe - 2011-08-20 13:07

    Funny how, if civilization experiences a drought, civilization just waits it out, survives, and survives good, for that matter. A little hardship, perhaps, nothing serious. But if a drought hits Africa, people start dieing within weeks, and once again, the civilized world must feed those gaping holes, on hardworking taxpayers' backs. I guess it's true what they say: without colonial help, there is no civilization in Africa. If ever there was a hand-to-mouth swarm of flies that needed to be eradicated, it's within the borders of Africa. Just get it over with already.

  • Sledgedarkwatch - 2011-08-20 13:11

    And ??????????

  • Jeff - 2011-08-20 13:22

    $1bn on food!? why not put all that in to agriculture, farming, live stock that way they can feed all these kids they keep having and maybe build a future for them along with a government..

      Marcell - 2011-08-20 16:22

      There culture is the typical African subsistance farming culture. They will ONLY plant enough for themselves for this year. If there is problems like storms or drought they don't have anything to carry them. They are born like that and they will die like that.

      John - 2011-08-20 17:13

      It's pointless sinking money into agriculture. There are no farmers and the soil has been irreversibly denuded. Nothing will ever grow there again.

  • Sven - 2011-08-20 13:36

    It would seem that 99% of that AID originated from the corrupt and evil West. Just look at South Africa's donation of R1 million to get perspective.

  • kitchenboy3 - 2011-08-20 13:42

    @most of the above: you guys are incredible, you are willing to let thousands of children starve to death, children that did not ask to be born into this world, yet you consider yourselfs to be 'superior' to africans, in my book you are even more savage then they are

      Doublepost - 2011-08-20 14:11

      Not one comment on any of these articles has called themselves "superior" to anyone. Africans need to learn to feed themselves. To state that means one thinks themselves equal to and not superior to Africans. To think that you must take care of Africans means you think you are superior to them.

  • Beannie - 2011-08-20 14:25

    Steralise them or else no aid. The West cannot keep upholding these desperate nations that obviously are meant to just die. A waste of resources and a waste of effort. They obviously are programmed to be driven out of the human evolution plan. Let them go, and sorry, yes, let them die. This is a waste of the worlds resources that we do not have to spare right now.

  • 2WhiteStars - 2011-08-20 14:34

    And not one, not ONE Western hostage freed by the Somali pirates. Despite the ongoing donations from the West to help THEIR people. Bastards. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Stop feeding the hand that bites you.

  • Anton - 2011-08-20 15:09

    Reading most of these comments; No wonder Africa has got such a bad name. There are not many countries in the world, where one would read such racist sick disturbed comments, by those, who in any case, are too busy with themselves to ever give to a charity!!!!! The little credit SA got by holding the 2010 SWC, is totally wasted by these kind of comments. Not even 20 SWC could rectify this!!!!!!

      Doublepost - 2011-08-20 15:53

      Yea, we too busy working to keep the country afloat and are a bit tired of the freeloaders. I only give to charities that help poor Afrikaner/Boers. No one else!

      Doublepost - 2011-08-20 15:55

      Actually, that's not true. I also give to the SPCA! Another worthwhile cause, unlike aid to Somalia. Not that's what you call a "money sink!"

      Anton - 2011-08-20 18:41

      Doublepost, Who is "we" keeping the country afloat ? I was glad to read that you are giving to charities, and I was also glad, that your comment did not have some remark full of hatred in it. That was until I read your second comment !!!!

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