The United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has warned that over 1.9 children are at risk of dying from severe malnutrition in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya.
Development Diaries reports that children in the Horn of Africa are living through an unprecedented crisis of hunger, displacement, water scarcity and insecurity.
According to UNICEF, more than seven million children under the age of five remain malnourished and are in need of urgent nutrition support.
It is understood that communities across the Horn of Africa have lost crops, livestock, and entire livelihoods following the drought crisis that plagued the region.
Children and women remain some of the most affected groups impacted by the devastating effects of the climate shock.
‘The crisis in the Horn [of Africa] has been devastating for children’, UNICEF Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa, Mohamed Fall, said in a statement.
‘Over the past three years, communities have been forced to take extreme measures to survive, with millions of children and families leaving their homes out of pure desperation in search of food and water.
‘This crisis has deprived children of the essentials of childhood – having enough to eat, a home, safe water, and going to school’.
While the rains have brought some reprieve, it has also led to floods, as the parched ground is unable to absorb large quantities of water, leading to further displacement, increased risk of disease, livestock loss and crop damage.
In Somalia, the rains have caused floods that have damaged homes, farmland and roads, as well as washed away livestock and led to closures of schools and health facilities.
Floods have also caused widespread destruction and displacement in several regions of Ethiopia, worsening health risks among which is the cholera outbreak.
‘The rains have brought some relief and hope, but also new threats, and recovery doesn’t happen overnight’, Fall added.
‘It takes time for crops and herds to grow again, for families to recover from years of hardship. That’s why continued support is still critical’.
UNICEF called for investment in sustainable, resilient systems across the region to protect children and communities from future crises.
Photo source: UNICEF