Somalia: UNICEF Needs More Funds to Address Severe Crisis, 3/19/99

Somalia: UNICEF Needs More Funds to Address Severe Crisis, 3/19/99

SOMALIA: UNICEF needs more funds to address severe crisis

NAIROBI, 19 March (IRIN) - Due to the severity of the crisis in southern and central Somalia, UNICEF is seeking additional funding to provide emergency food, water and health assistance for about 300,000 "very vulnerable" Somalis until the next harvest in July.

In a report received by IRIN on Friday, UNICEF said its requirements for the southern and central Somalia emergency programme for the period November 1998 to July 1999 had increased to US $7.4 million. UNICEF had appealed for US $4.9 million in November, to which donors had so far contributed US $2.5 million. During the first phase of the emergency programme, UNICEF provided Supermix to some 40,000 malnourished children per month and vaccinated 60,000 children against measles, among other activities, the report said.

UNICEF's requirements were revised upwards because poor rainfall during the last season compounded the critical water shortage in affected areas and led to a very disappointing secondary Deyr harvest in January. The main Gu harvest in July will most probably be lower than normal, people's coping mechanisms have been exhausted, the number of displaced persons is rising, and an increase in malaria and other diseases is expected, especially in areas where the displaced are concentrated, the report said.

Of the estimated 300,000 people at great risk, some 200,000 are children under five years of age, of whom 60,000 are considered malnourished. "In addition to normal food requirements, they need supplementary food, water, seeds, and health assistance to prevent a major famine and multiple health problems," the report said.

In response to the major food insecurity affecting southern Somalia, WFP reached over 250,000 people during February, mostly in the Bay, Bakool and Gedo regions, WFP's monthly activity report said. It said three vessels carrying WFP food aid had docked at the Merca and El Ma'an ports during the month, and convoys were dispatched to the southern regions with no security incidents reported. WFP planned to distribute 3,000 mt of food aid during March in the same areas, the report added.

Meanwhile, World Vision last week set up an isolation unit outside Salagle on the Juba river in southern Somalia in response to an outbreak of cholera in the area. Some 26 people had so far died in the unit, 50 adults and children were being treated and 79 patients had been discharged, World Vision told IRIN on Thursday. Nurses running the unit reported that the death rate was now falling, and primary health care teams were chlorinating water sources in neighbouring villages to contain the outbreak, World Vision said.


Date: Fri, 19 Mar 1999 17:22:09 +0300 (EAT) From: IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <> Subject: SOMALIA: UNICEF needs more funds to address severe crisis [19990319]

Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D

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