Somalia famine fears rise, children at risk, UNICEF says

The number of Somali children at risk of starvation and diseases is rising rapidly, said UNICEF spokesman Christophe Boulierac.

Boulierac said on March 31 that in the first two months of 2017, malnutrition in Somalia was up 58 percent from the same period last year.  

“More than 35,400 children suffering from severe acute malnutrition were treated with life-saving therapeutic food at hundreds of nutrition centers across Somalia, in January and February,” he said.

Cholera cases in the first three months of 2017 surpass the numbers from all of 2016.

Drought has decimated harvests and livestock. A similar drought and famine in 2011 killed 260,000—and this year’s drought is far more widespread than the drought six years ago.

The United Nations said 6 million people—more than half of Somalia’s population—are in need of aid. One million children are acutely malnourished.

On top of famine, Somalia faces military violence.

The White House has authorized the military to carry out more strikes against Al-Qaeda-linked al Shabab terrorists.

“It is obvious that if we add now another factor which is the intensification, possible intensification of violence, that will be another difficulty for the people of Somalia and for the children of Somalia,” Boulierac concluded.