Following the worst drought in the horn of Africa region in 60 years, the UN has officially declared a famine in two regions of southern Somalia. SOS Children have launched an Emergency Relief Appeal in two locations in the south of Somalia. The first has been launched in the capital Mogadishu, where over 6,000 families are living in the Dharkenley refugee camp. The second programme will be established in the rebel-controlled city of Baidoa, where nearly 50,000 displaced people are now living. We are one of the only aid organisations with permission from the Al-Shabaab group to set up operations in this area.
Ahmed Ibrahim, the National Director of SOS Children in Somalia (pictured above), recently carried out an assessment of the living conditions in the refugee camps, which he describes as “terrible”. Many children are suffering severe malnutrition, and a large number are dying every day. The increasing numbers moving into refugee camps, coupled with the lack of shelter, water, health services and food, has created a humanitarian disaster. Here, he describes the scenes he has seen at the camps, how SOS Children will intervene, and the challenges we face on the ground.
Our programmes will provide food rations, nutritional supplies and equipment for vulnerable children and families. A mobile clinic will provide specialist mother and child health services and treat patients with common diseases, whilst an immunisation centres will provide free vaccinations to protect as many children as possible. The medical clinic in Mogadishu has already been opened and is treating 600 people, primarily women and children, every day.
Ahmed Ibrahim says that although Somalia is experiencing the worst drought in more than half a century, the current crisis has been caused by people and policies as much as nature, "The country has been lacking a central government and stability for more than 20 years. A massive increase in emergency aid/assistance is needed at the moment in order to save lives and protect livelihoods. The international community need to do more to address the issues that make Somali people vulnerable to war, famine, drought and piracy."
SOS Children have been working in Somalia for 25 years. As well as providing long-term family-based care for orphaned and abandoned children, a large hospital provides medical care for 30,000 patients every year. Many of those from the camp in Mogadishu in need of treatment will be bought to the hospital for medical care.
We desperately need your help so we can support the victims of the East Africa famine. If you make a one-off donation you can give directly to our Emergency Relief Programme in Somalia, or by taking out a child sponsorship you will help us to focus on the needs of children who have lost their parents in the current famine crisis.