UNICEF reports on outlook for Horn of Africa
UNICEF has reported that, despite recent improvements, the outlook for the Horn of Africa remains uncertain. It is estimated that at present more than 8 million people need emergency assistance.
The massive humanitarian response of 2011 to the crisis in the Horn of Africa reversed the spread of famine and saved tens of thousands of children's lives. However, the situation remain difficult. Even the tentative gains achieved to date are threatened, according to a new UNICEF report.
" Despite significant progress in the food security outlook for the Horn of Africa, the child survival crisis is far from over. Millions of children require sustained assistance in the critical months ahead. Otherwise we can easily see a reversal of the hard-won achievements," said Elhadj As Sy, UNICEF Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa, on the occasion of the launch of the report Response to the Horn of Africa emergency that describes the UNICEF humanitarian operation in the six months after famine was declared in parts of Somalia in July 2011.
" The prospects for a sustained recovery are increasingly precarious. The most recent weather outlook in combination with persisting insecurity and violence in many areas can lead to new shocks and disruptions, a development which again puts the lives of hundreds of thousands of children at risk," said Mr. As Sy, who is the UNICEF Global Emergency Coordinator for the Horn of Africa crisis.
According to the latest projections, the March-May seasonal rains will remain below average in most parts of the region. On-going conflict in Somalia, terror attacks and ethnic violence in parts of Kenya as well as threats against aid workers are limiting humanitarian access to refugees and communities affected by the crisis.
More than 8 million people across the Horn of Africa need emergency assistance. Nearly a third of Somalia's population, so approx 2.51 million people, remain in acute humanitarian crisis, including more than 323,000 acutely malnourished children. Some 463,000 Somali refugees in the Dadaab camps in north eastern Kenya, 142,000 people in the Dollo Ado camps in Ethiopia as well as 22,000 people in the Ali Addeh camp in Djibouti as well as 1.35 million Somalis displaced within their own country also continue to require support.
Results achieved in 2011
The recent report (see link below) details the results of UNICEF's massive humanitarian response in the second half of 2011. Achievements include:
- Delivery of more than 60,000 metric tons of life-saving UNICEF supplies to Horn of Africa countries by air, land and sea routes;
- Treatment of close to 350,000 severely malnourished children;
- Vaccination of 7.9 million children against measles;
- Provision of safe drinking water to 3.2 million people; and
- Facilitation of access for more than 200,000 children to child-friendly spaces or other safe environments.
Thanks to the huge support received from donors and other partners, UNICEF contributed to the downgrading of Somalia's originally six famine zones to the lower emergency level; a three-fold reduction in global acute malnutrition in Kenya's Turkana region; and very high recovery rates from acute malnutrition and low mortality rates among children in Ethiopia.
In 2011, UNICEF received more than $405 million for its humanitarian response in the Horn of Africa, reaching 96% of the total amount needed. In 2012 UNICEF needs an additional $413.8 million for its relief and recovery operations in the Horn of Africa.
" The coming months demand continued and sustained support to ensure that the multiple needs of vulnerable children are met and that another catastrophe can be averted," said As Sy.
" If vigilance is not maintained, famine may return. However, together we can make a fundamental difference for millions of children in the Horn of Africa."
The "Response to the Horn of Africa Emergency" is available as a .pdf download from http://www.unicef.org/media/files/HOA_2012_Report-final_110412.pdf
UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children
survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s
largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child
health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for
all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation,
and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals,
businesses, foundations and governments.
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