Wednesday, July 13, 2011

IRC says one in ten children are in danger of starvation at the Horn of Africa

The International Red Cross has issued a statement on what the organization has observed from the dire situation in the Horn of Africa. The Red Cross says one out every ten children living in the drought affected area are in danger of starving to death. The emergency level drought is gripping the countries of Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia and others.

From Reuters Alert Net, writer Stephanie Nebehay relays the information from the Red Cross.

"Levels of malnutrition have reached a new peak and are currently the highest in the world," the ICRC said in a statement.

The independent aid agency, one of very few with access to Somalia's worst-hit areas, said that even in the Bay and Lower Shabelle regions, the traditional breadbaskets, nearly 11 percent of children under five had severe acute malnutrition.

This meant they were at risk of starving to death. Rates were believed to be significantly higher in other areas.

"In some parts of Somalia, the number of children with severe acute malnutrition has almost doubled since March."

The disturbing findings were based on data from 39 clinics and 18 therapeutic feeding centres run by the Somali Red Crescent with its support. The ICRC said it was opening 10 new feeding centres in Bakool, Gedo and the Afgoye corridor.

Somalia has had no effective central government for two decades, worsening the impact of recurring droughts. Islamist al Shabaab rebels have refused to allow food aid to be delivered in areas under their control, saying it encourages dependency.

The world body is looking into security guarantees to return to southern Somalia following an unexpected announcement by al Shabaab last week that it was lifting its ban. [ID:nN1E765198]

The World Food Programme (WFP), in a statement on Wednesday, said it could return to the south "if conditions allow and if the necessary security clearance from the United Nations is granted".

If you feel moved to donate to the Red Cross and their work of feeding the drought stricken Horn of Africa you can do so by going to this link.

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