Somali refugee Hawa Muya, with son Hussein and daughter Fatma. Daily Mirror

By Tom Parry in Dadaab, Kenya, Daily Mirror
12 July 2011

Hawa Muya cradles her baby boy while her daughter shelters from the sand and flies against her mum’s black robe.

The 28-year-old is sitting patiently in a long line as she keeps a close eye on Hussein, who is 10 months, and Fatma, aged one.
 
Describing her exhausting journey across Somalia to get here, she mentions in passing that her other daughter Amina, three, died from starvation on the way.
 
There’s no hysteria in Hawa’s voice as she quietly describes watching Amina drop dead in front of her.
 
It is disturbingly matter-of-fact as she says: “There were a large group of us travelling together. We had no food and had to rely on begging whenever we got to a village. But those people had nothing as well.
 
“My daughter was the first in the group to die. She was badly malnourished and she just slumped down on the ground. Some men took her into the shade but she never recovered.
 
“I sat and listened to her trying to murmur a few words. Her mouth was too dry to speak.”
 
Wiping the flies from Hussein’s face, Hawa adds: “They helped me dig a hole in the ground to bury her in. Then, a few hours later, we carried on walking.”
 
The mum says: “My husband is in Somalia so we have nothing, but I am glad we got here.
 
“Back home all the animals are dead. There is nothing to eat at all.” […]

Somalia famine crisis: My 3-year-old was the first in our group to die.. we buried her and kept on walking


Area of food shortages in Africa. UNHCR / USAID / bbc.co.uk

July 6 (BBC) – The levels of malnutrition among children fleeing Somalia's drought could lead to a "human tragedy of unimaginable proportions", the UN refugee head Antonio Guterres has said.

Young children are dying on their way to or within a day of arrival at camps in Ethiopia and Kenya, the UNHCR says.

It estimates that a quarter of Somalis are either displaced within the country or living outside as refugees.

The worst drought in 60 years has been compounded by the violence in Somalia.

"It's so extreme," said UNHCR spokeswoman Melissa Fleming. "Our people are saying they've never seen anything like it."

The warning comes as the UK aid agencies Oxfam, Save the Children, and the Red Cross launch emergency appeals in response to the food crisis which is affecting more than 12 million people in the Horn of Africa.

The agencies are collectively asking for nearly $150m (£93m).

The UNHCR says the need for food, shelter, health services and other life saving aid is urgent and massive. […]

The agency says more than 50% of Somali children arriving in Ethiopia are seriously malnourished. In Kenya, that figure is between 30% and 40%.

"What is the most tragic for us to witness, is that there are children who do arrive in such a weakened state that despite our emergency care and therapeutic feeding, they're dying within 24 hours," Ms Fleming told a press briefing in Geneva.

"We estimate that one quarter of Somalia's 7.5 million people are now either internally displaced or are living outside the country as refugees," she said. [...]

Ms Fleming said there was no sign of the exodus of Somalis ending.

"The relentless violence that's compounded by a terrible drought has forced more than 135,000 Somalis to flee Somalia so far this year," she said.

"In June alone, 54,000 people fled across the two borders, and that is three times the number [of people who fled] in May. So this is a huge spike." […]

Somalia food crisis reaching 'unimaginable proportions'


Osman Ali Aliyow Mursal digs a burial plot among other graves for his four-year-old son, Aden Ibrahim, as men prepare to pray over the boy's body, wrapped in a plastic mat, on the outskirts of Ifo II Camp, outside Dadaab, Kenya, on Tuesday, 12 July 2011. Doctors were unable to save Aden, who died of diarrhea-related dehydration after four days of inpatient care. U.N. Refugee Chief Antonio Guterres said Sunday that drought-ridden Somalia is the 'worst humanitarian disaster' in the world. Rebecca Blackwell/AP

[Grim photos here, not for the faint of heart.]

By Jonathan Woods
12 July 2011

The pictures are heart wrenching. Malnourished children are dying in refugee camps as their parents watch helplessly. It's being called the "worst humanitarian disaster in the world," the UN's refugee agency chief Antonio Guterres said.

Children die as drought plagues Somalia

1 comments :

  1. Unknown said...

    Hi Jim; Thanks for bringing us this. Funny how it isn't on the news. What can we do? If anything?
    Amy  

 

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