Save the Children Federation

Save the Children is the world's leading independent organization for children. Our vision is a world in which every child attains the right to survival, protection, development and participation. Our mission is to inspire breakthroughs in the way the world treats children and to achieve immediate and lasting change in their lives.
Jun 25, 2012

East Africa Food Crisis - One Year On

Food distribution @ Sheikh Aliawhar Clinic Somalia
Food distribution @ Sheikh Aliawhar Clinic Somalia

The Food Crisis, East Africa

In June last year, the worst drought in 60 years put more than ten million people across Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia at risk of starvation. 

Malnutrition rates reached a devastatingly high level.  Famine was declared in some regions of Somalia, and 37.4% children in remote parts of Kenya suffered from Global Acute Malnutrition - the World Health Organisation’s emergency threshold is 15%.

Merlin’s Response

Merlin had already been running programs in all three countries for many years before the drought set in, and so were strongly positioned to scale up immediately.  Merlin teams increased vaccination, health and nutrition programs to care for over 1.7 million people within weeks.

In the following months, Merlin has supported 222 health facilities and 114 outreach sites and mobile clinics delivering emergency nutrition and primary health care to remote and vulnerable communities affected by malnutrition and diseases that prey on the weak.

 

Somalia

Merlin teams have offered nutritional care, health services and supported health facilities and outreach sites in two regions of Somalia.  In the politically sensitive and often insecure South Central region, Merlin is the only health agency on the ground.  Maintaining positive relationships with local authorities and communities has enabled teams to continue to offer health care and nutrition to those most in need without bias. 

Key Stats

602,000 people offered access to Merlin’s emergency health and nutrition services

42 outreach sites and 17 health facilities supported by Merlin

655 tons of therapeutic and supplementary food distributed

44,883 children screened for malnutrition

2,521 children under five & 506 pregnant and breastfeeding women part of therapeutic feeding program

 

Ethiopia

A force of almost 3,000 health workers and volunteers were trained by Merlin to identify cases of malnutrition among children, pregnant women and new mothers in some of the most remote villages of Oromia and Somali regions, south east Ethiopia. Teams have also raised awareness on hygiene and sanitation, and why these are important aspects in remaining healthy.  

Key Stats

 527,834 people have access to Merlin-supported health and nutrition services

217 health facilities and 40 outreach sites supported by Merlin

40,629 children screened for malnutrition

778 tons of therapeutic and supplementary food supplies distributed

11,059 children under five & 11,546 pregnant and breastfeeding women part of therapeutic feeding program

 

Kenya

Key Stats

 485,000 people have access to Merlin-supported health and nutrition services

30 health facilities and 70 outreach sites supported by Merlin

52,134 children screened for malnutrition

11,059 children under five & 11,546 pregnant and breastfeeding women part of therapeutic feeding program

112, 801 offered consultations and treatment for diseases

Chip Bartlett, Merlin's Country Director for Kenya says:

“Merlin has been working in Turkana since 2004, but I have never seen such catastrophic levels of malnutrition as I saw last June. Over a third of all children under five in the Horn of Africa were severely malnourished, and in grave danger of dying. We quickly scaled up the number of static and mobile clinics we support by over 75%.  The need was almost overwhelming. Now, acute malnutrition in children under five in Turkana has more than halved from 30% to 14%.

Another drought looks likely this year. Merlin is committed to providing for the long term, so we are maintaining this expanded coverage and working closely with the Ministry of Health and other partners to analyze early warning indicators and plan a coordinated response in the event of another crisis.”

                        Thank you for supporting Merlin's activities in East Africa.

Jun 12, 2012

Situation in Kenya and Ethiopia - general update

Food distribution, Kenya
Food distribution, Kenya

Thank you for supporting Merlin's activities to fight the food crisis in East Africa.  As you will read below, there is still a need for our emergency health and nutrition services, due to failing rains and high food prices.

If you were thinking of supporting of Merlin's work again, tomorrow (June 13th) would be a great day to do it.  Those lovely people at Global Giving will give an additional 40% on donations.  So a $20 donation from you, is actually a $28 gift to Merlin.

PS.  Please think about giving your donation early in the day, they only have $75,000 to give away.

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Ethiopia 

Deteriorating food security likely in the coming months

While food security conditions remain relatively stable in many areas due to the October-December 2011 harvest being good and ongoing humanitarian interventions from INGOs such as Merlin, conditions are expected to deteriorate in the coming months with the prediction of low harvests - due to low rain fall at the start of the year, unusually high price of staple foods; and limited availability of bridging foods between now and August.

Longer term weather forecast better

However, longer term weather forecasts (June to September) are on the whole, good. The national forecast for the coming rainy season predicts that seasonal rains should be ‘on time’ and be of a normal to above-normal amount. Unfortunately, they also forecast that the rains will stop earlier than usual, which would shorten the crop season.  There may also be El Niño conditions, which would increase the likelihood of flooding in certain areas.

Continued refugees entering Ethiopia

Ethiopia is still seeing an influx of refugees from Somalia, Sudan and South Sudan, fleeing from conflict and even worse food situations – in Somalia crops are being destroyed by caterpillars.

 

Kenya

Food Security Alert

There has been a Food Security Alert from the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) in parts of the north-west pastoral areas, which includes the Turkana region.  Merlin has been offering emergency food and nutrition services to communities in Turkana for over a year now.

Poor rains mean low harvests

Food crisis levels are expected to hit around September, which marks the peak of the ‘lean’ season - when food in most scarce, but the situation could start any time from now (mid June).  Access to food is likely to decline precariously from July onwards due to a forecasted below-average Long Rains harvest, and above-average food prices. Families will experience significant food gaps and shortages over the next six months.

Disease hits maize farmers

The Food Security Alert announcement comes at a time when at least 70% of the maize crop in Rift Valley Province - the grain basket of Kenya- is reportedly affected by the highly contagious Maize Lethal Necrosis disease. Humanitarian news network IRIN, reports that over 300,000 farmers have been affected, with the Kenyan Ministry of Agriculture warning of a high likelihood of crop failure and increased maize prices during the current season. The Government has moved in to stop the further spread of the disease.

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From everyone at Merlin, thank you for your support.  If you feel you can offer another gift, we could definitely use your help.

Nutrition for mothers & children Gode, Ethiopia
Nutrition for mothers & children Gode, Ethiopia
Therapeutic feeding, Ethiopia
Therapeutic feeding, Ethiopia
May 16, 2012

New Update from the Horn of Africa

The Hunger Crisis in the Horn of Africa continues. The general food security situation has stabilized and is improving in most areas of Ethiopia due to the arrival in the markets of crops from the meher (October-February) harvest, the impact of the overall good deyr/hagaya (October-December) rains on water availability and livestock conditions, and the continuing distribution of relief food.

However, worsening water shortages continue to be reported in parts of Ethiopia, with an estimated 690,000 people in need of emergency water assistance. Over the past week, water trucking requirements increased by 37 trucks.

Risk of a poor April-June rainy season remains in Somalia, and people in southern regions continue to be vulnerable to both price and rainfall shocks following the devastating effects of the recent food crisis. As a result, large numbers of people are likely to remain in crisis until the August 2012 harvest, with numbers likely to increase starting in May in Juba, Shabelle and Bay regions, when the benefit of the current harvest will be reduced.

 Save the Children has been supporting treatment for children with severe acute malnutrition at the OTP (Outpatient Therapeutic Program), school feeding programs, training of cook volunteers, rehabilitation of health posts, screening of children for malnutrition and training on malnutrition by the nutrition team.

 

In the refugee camps, activities in child protection include reunification of children with their relatives, raising of awareness through tea-talk meetings and house to house visits were done to create awareness to parents about the rights of children in general and the reporting mechanism on child abuses within the camp. Family Tracing and Reunification (FTR) teams also traveled to refugee camps to discuss how to collaborate with other FTR teams and help return more lost children to their relatives.

Educational activities included general supervision to ensure good attendance, water supply, hygiene and sanitation and child protection was done in the Dolo Ado camps, rehabilitation of water, shade and latrines, training of cooks on child protection and proper food handling management. 

To help families feed their children, we distributed fresh food vouchers as well as supported livestock vaccination and deworming.

 
   

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