Aayan (28) with her son Aadan (3)
I am pleased to share our first report through GlobalGiving on the progress our project has made to combat the hunger crisis in East Africa. With your generous support, Concern Worldwide continues to respond to the devastating situation in South Sudan, Somalia, Kenya, and Ethiopia, where 20 million people are currently at risk of starvation. Concern has scaled up its operations, with over 1,200 experienced staff currently on the ground providing life-saving support to the increasing numbers of people throughout the region who need urgent assistance. A critical component of Concern’s response is to treat the growing number of malnourished children. We are also delivering cash transfers, distributing food, and providing access to clean water and hygiene. Today, I want to spotlight the situation in Somalia and our ongoing response to it.
In Somalia, lack of access to water is the key driver of the crisis. The current drought, which is the result of three failed rainy seasons in a row, is the most severe in living memory. Over half the population (approximately 6.2 million people) is in urgent need of food assistance, including more than 350,000 children under the age of five who are acutely malnourished. So far, humanitarian aid has helped to minimize the loss of life, but the sheer scale of this crisis is overwhelming and the threat of famine is looming large. Wells have dried up, crops have failed, and livestock are dying in massive numbers from lack of food and water. The short supply of food has sent prices soaring and people have been left with no choice but to leave their homes and villages in search of food and water. So far an estimated 600,000 Somalis have been displaced from their homes, often walking for days or weeks in search of food and water.
In Somalia alone, Concern has provided over 14,000 families (over 70,000 people) with emergency cash transfers so they can buy the food they desperately need, and we’re providing clean water to tens of thousands of people in the worst hit drought affected areas. Concern has also expanded its emergency nutrition response by establishing outpatient therapeutic and supplementary feeding programs, reaching almost 7,000 malnourished children and breastfeeding mothers.
The journey to find relief is often filled with unimaginable suffering. Aayan* and her three-year-old son Aadan* arrived at a Concern nutrition center in late March after a harrowing 37-mile trek during which Aayan lost two of her other children. There was just nothing she could do to save them. When Aadan was assessed by the Concern team, he weighed only 20 pounds. Suffering from loss of appetite, edema, and skin disease, he was diagnosed as severely malnourished and has been admitted to Concern’s nutrition center for the care he so urgently needs.
In Somaliland, an autonomous region of Somalia, animals are the main source of livelihood for herders like Hani*, providing income, food, and valuable assets. Over the course of the current prolonged drought, Hani has watched her animals die in droves. Before the drought, her family owned more than 459 animals, but less than 60 sheep, goats, and camels have survived. Without them, Hani doesn’t know how she and her family will survive. Devastated by his family’s desperate situation, Hani’s husband hung himself from a tree, leaving the 47-year-old mother of seven completely on her own. Hani is currently receiving emergency water supplies and cash transfers from Concern Worldwide to help support her family.
Concern plans to continue to scale up our response in Somalia and the rest of East Africa in order to reach as many beneficiaries as possible for as long as the crisis continues. On behalf of Concern and the people we serve, we thank you for your generous support as we provide life-saving resources to families facing hunger and drought in East Africa.
*Name changed for security
Hani, mother of 7, receives aid from Concern
Concern staff Hawa Wehliye and Ibrahim Ambar