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ChildFund responds to Horn of Africa food crisis

Severe drought, conflict and rising food prices have sparked chronic food shortages across parts of Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Somalia and Djibouti. The United Nations says this is one of the worst droughts to hit the region in 60 years, affecting more than 10 million people.

Child malnutrition rates in the worst affected areas are more than double the emergency threshold of 15 per cent and are expected to rise further. High death rates among children are reported, but no figures have yet been released.

Conflict and drought are driving thousands of Somalis from their homeland into Kenya and Ethiopia. Almost half the Somali children arriving in refugee camps are malnourished.

ChildFund is responding to the situation in Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia, where our national offices are working with partners to plan and coordinate emergency aid to affected children and families.

Water scarcity has reached precarious levels in northern and eastern Kenya, where malnutrition and mortality rates have exceeded emergency thresholds. ChildFund Kenya is working with the World Food Programme to distribute food aid and stocking early childhood centres with nutritional food supplements.

In the north and northeast regions of Uganda, poor harvests combined with drought and a 40-50% increase in food prices have put food out of reach for many poor households. ChildFund Uganda is working with the Government and other partners to monitor the situation in affected communities. At this stage, the situation in Uganda is not deemed as critical as in Kenya.

In the Siraro district of Ethiopia, drought and poor harvests have led to severe food shortages and malnutrition. ChildFund Ethiopia is working with partners to develop a response plan, including supplementary food assistance for malnourished children.

Photo: Reuters/Thomas Mukoya, courtesy Trust.org – AlertNet

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