Help for the victims of hunger in the Horn of Africa.
In Kenya, the famine threatens 2.5 million residents and refugees who walked there from Somalia. Terre des homes (Tdh) started a health and nutrition program for more than 8,000 children under five years old and 350 pregnant women suffering from malnutrition.
The Horn of Africa, that region of the African continent covering Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia and Eritrea, is currently undergoing an exceptional humanitarian crisis. Doubly hit by war and drought, as well as the increase in the prices of cereals, the worst in the past 60 years, this East African region is now the scene of a food crisis of unprecedented extent.
Twelve million people are affected by the food crisis of which 2 million are children. Half a million children are severely malnourished and in danger of imminent death. The latest figures (FAO, UNICEF) on the disastrous drought in the Horn of Africa are overwhelming.
During the month of July alone, the High Commission for Refugees (HCR) estimates that 54,000 Somalis fled their country due to the drought and violence. The refugee camps in Dadaab, in eastern Kenya, already crammed with nearly 400,000 refugees, will see a daily influx of some 1,500 persons. The majority of them are in an advanced state of malnutrition. Hundreds of others, too weak to endure the long journey, died on the way or had to be left behind in a Somali border town.
Terre des hommes (Tdh) lead a survey to evaluate the nutritional status of the children in August and was able to launch an emergency programme for the distribution of vital goods, nutritional aid and child protection. The emergency team is setting up assistance near Dadaab refugee camps for children suffering from severe undernourishment. More than 8,000 children will be part of the program, as well as 350 pregnant women.
Our intervention aims to prevent as well as cure severe and moderate acute malnutrition. The project is planned for at least one year. Field health workers from Tdh will look for the children and the pregnant women suffering from malnutrition in the communities. Patients will be cured thanks to ambulatory therapeutic programs. Terre des hommes supports the Kenyan ministry of health in the management of its local health centres.
Michel Roulet, paediatrician, nutritionist, and expert in nutrition for Terre des hommes describes the alarming situation which currently takes place in Somalia and extends in the bordering countries.
He just returns from a mission of evaluation in Kenya in August 2011. He reacts to the current situation of the refugee in the camps, as well as Kenyan also undergoing this crisis.
"More than 70 children suffering from severe malnutrition were in the hospital of the camp of Ifo in Dadaab. We examined a 3 years and 5 month old child who weighed 4.5 kilos. We also saw children from 5 to 18 years suffering from acute malnutrition - what is very rare. It is necessary to act as fast as possible because children die every day."
DELEGATE: Angelita Caredda - TDH STAFF: 85 local employees and 3 expatriates - INTERVENTION AREAS: Dadaab - PARTNER ORGANISATIONS: Swiss Development Cooperation, Swiss Solidarity, other Terre des Hommes organisations - BUDGET 2011: 1 million CHF.