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East Africa Famine: The harrowing facts on Somalia

Dec 23, 2011 12:50 PM

People in Somalia still face a desperate situation, long after the crisis began:

  • East Africa Famine 2011250,000 people in Somalia still face famine.
  • 4 million people in Somalia remain in crisis.
  • 7,300 displaced people are being treated by SOS medical staff every month at the Badbado camp in the capital Mogadishu.
  • The average family size in the Badbado camp is 7.3 persons. Each family occupies 6 square metres, which leads to excessive overcrowding.
  • Adult males in the camp often sleep without shelter – which has contributed to ill-health following recent heavy rains. 
  • Of the 11,000 families, only a third of them are fortunate enough to live under the shelter of plastic; others must scavenge for a limited supply of tattered cloth and waste cartons. 
  • The most recent round of food distributed by SOS Children workers took place on December 16.
  • SOS Children’s recently opened Child-Friendly Spaces Project in the camp provides a place for psychological support and fun for 375 children. Lack of available space has hindered the expansion of the programme.
  • In Southern Somalia, SOS Children staff conducted an assessment in Baidoa and nearby Buulofur to establish the overall situation following the expulsion of 16 aid agencies. Their findings confirm that their departure created a huge gap in humanitarian assistance in the region. Only three organisations are left to deal with the work of 16.
  • Plans are underway to address needs in areas such as Qansah dhere which has a population of 108,763, many of whom are malnourished. The area has not received food aid from any source in the recent past. SOS Children immediately provided help to 2,000 families when requested to do so.
  • Logistics are being organised to meet similar requests from other areas that are likely to materialise in coming weeks. Many drought-affected families in the area do not appear to be engaged in agriculture or other income-generating activities as they lack the resources to invest in initiatives that could improve their livelihoods.
  • East Africa Famine 2011Services at the main hospital in Baidoa, which served as a referral facility, have rapidly deteriorated due to inadequate medical supplies and a demoralised staff.
  • The burden of disease among the community is at its peak following heavy rains. This has consequently increased the caseload for SOS Children staff and is bound to outstretch resources allocated to SOS medical facilities in Baidoa and Buulofur.
  • Malnutrition among children under five years old is high and additional cases are likely to emerge due to the expulsion of organisations which had provided therapeutic programmes.
  • SOS Children continues to have cordial working relationships with the authorities in southern Somalia, where the total number of people we are helping has increased to 28,356.
  • The provision of supplies is severely restricted as the road between Mogadishu and Baidoa is often closed by up to 20 roadblocks manned by militia and military forces.
  • Food and medical services continue to be supplied to 2,500 people in villages north of Baidoa, such as Labatan Jirow and Good Guddud.

Interview with SOS Children staff member

Listen to an audio interview with an SOS Children staff member who has recently seen SOS Children's work and the situation in Mogadishu and Somalia.

How you can help

You can make a one-off donation directly to our Emergency Relief Programme in Somalia, or take out a child sponsorship to help us to focus on the long-term welfare of children who have no one to care for them as a result of the famine.

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