Australian aid worker Tom Arup from Save the Children has just returned from drought-affected Somalia. He said, "Workers at Save the Children-supported health clinics and hospitals in Puntland – one of the areas hardest hit by drought in Somalia – are already seeing a significant increase in severe malnutrition cases among children coming through their doors.
"Somalia is a nation desperately in need of emergency food and health aid. In many parts of the country children are extremely malnourished and livestock – the main source of income for many pastoralists – have died. Today’s $20 million announcement by the Australian Government is very welcome and will help to bring much needed food and nutrition relief to tens of thousands of people.”
Today’s announcement will also support people at risk of death because of famine in South Sudan where conflict has led to critical food shortages.
Save the Children’s Country Director in South Sudan, Pete Walsh, said, "The number of people facing emergency food crisis levels is up by 36%, making this the worst harvest season since South Sudan became the world’s newest nation in 2011. Children, particularly under-fives, are the most at risk of dying as they are less able to withstand acute malnutrition and are more susceptible to diseases such as measles, malaria and cholera.
“While the threat of a famine in South Sudan has been looming for months, the worst-case scenario has now become a devastating reality in parts of the country. In the coming months, famine could spread to other parts of the country, where millions of vulnerable children and families now risk starving to death,” said Mr Walsh.
“There is still time to save countless lives, but only if the international community acts now to step up its funding efforts. Delays will surely spell catastrophe and death for whole communities hit by drought and conflict.”
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