Drought-Related Malnutrition kills at least 500 in Somalia – UNICEF

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The U.N. Children’s Fund has revealed that at least 500 children have died this year of malnutrition as Somalia deals with record-breaking drought.

According to UNICEF, the death toll is just the “tip of the iceberg” as many deaths go unreported.

UNICEF Somalia spokesman, Victor Chinyama said the drought is having its worst effects on children, with 400,000 at risk of severe acute malnourishment.

If not reached immediately with emergency support, those children will be in danger of dying, Chinyama stressed.

“And so far, we have recorded about 500 deaths of children that have been admitted for severe acute malnutrition and this is only a tip of the iceberg because we know that there are many more children whose deaths are never recorded. These children are dying in their homes, they are dying on the way as they travel in search of help,” he said.

He said UNICEF Somalia has appealed for $112 million in emergency funds for this year but have only received about half.

Somalia President, Hassan Sheikh Mohamed, who was elected in May, appointed that same month a special envoy for drought response, Abdirahman Abdishakur Warsame.

Warsame visited Dolow in June, stating that officials were doing everything they could to avert famine.

“That’s why we are calling (on the) international community and international donors to pay attention to Somali drought and increase their level of humanitarian assistance. Also, my government will do as much as possible to facilitate and contribute the assistance of the aid and support to the people who are affected by the drought,” he said.