About half of children in Somalia under the age of five are expected to be acutely malnourished this year, the United Nations children’s agency says.
Unicef estimates that more than 1.25 million Somali children are likely to be malnourished if they don’t receive urgent assistance.
Christophe Boulierac, a UNICEF spokesperson, said that number includes some 232,000 children “who will suffer the harshest form of malnutrition, severe acute malnutrition (SAM), which requires specialized lifesaving care”.
“Children displaced from their homes are most likely to be malnourished. Even before the floods, acute malnutrition rates among displaced children ranged from 15 percent (the emergency threshold) to 21 per cent, as compared to an average of 13.8 per cent of Somali children,” he said a press briefing in Geneva.
He said recent heavy rains “spread diseases that are particularly deadly for malnourished children with exhausted, fragile immune systems”.
“While we haven’t seen a spike yet, the risk of further outbreaks is high and compounded by flooding.”
Unicef said it needs $110.3 million to scale up programmes in the country.