Floods The Horn of Africa threaten kids

Nairobi – Almost five million children under the age of 5 who are suffering chronic food shortages owing to drought and conflict in the Horn of Africa may now be hit by catastrophic floods, the United Nations Children’s Fund Unicef said on Wednesday.

The failure of rains has left 24 million people in Somalia, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Djibouti needing food aid and of these people around 500 000 children under 5 will suffer from life-threatening malnutrition this year,  Unicef said.

However, the longed-for rains that have eluded many regions for several years could bring disaster rather than relief.

The agency warned that El Nino could bring catastrophic floods during the upcoming rainy season.

“We are working with governments, UN and NGO (Non Governmental Organisation) partners to strengthen the capacities on the ground for expanded humanitarian operations, in case El Nino hits the Horn of Africa hard,” said Elhadj As Sy, Unicef Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa.

“We appeal to the donor community to urgently increase their support and to help us strengthen the capacity of governments and humanitarian actors in the Horn to assist children and families in need.”

Unicef said that by the end of September it had received only 35% of the funds needed for its emergency operations in the Horn. The agency asked for $189m.


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Posted by on Oct 15 2009 Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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