When the UN declared that Somalia was in a state of famine last July, Relief International, being on the front lines of development efforts in the country since 2007 was one of the first responders to the crisis. Since then RI in partnership with donors from GlobalGiving, has been hard at work disbursing of immediate aid in addition to implementation of long–term programs to fight the three distinct characteristics of famine: extremely widespread food insecurity, acute malnutrition rates above 30 percent, and exceptionally high rates of mortality.
RI’s Nutrition and Primary Health Care Service has been a leading initiative in reducing acute malnutrition and under five mortality in the most vulnerable area of southern Somalia. We have made primary health and nutrition care services more accessible and are using our basic education initiatives as an informative platform to encourage locals to utilize the services. RI’s Sustainable Water, Sanitation, And Hygiene (WASH) program is not only making clean water more attainable, but is contributing to the realization of the positive effects improved access to clean water has on the protection and economic well being of women, children and elderly people.
On February 3, 2012, the UN announced that the official famine in Somalia is now over, yet mortality and malnutrition rates are above the threshold in many locations of Somalia. In Mongadishu four out of 20 children displaced are acutely malnourished. “Our greatest error now would be to consider this situation as resolved and let the compassion we felt at the height of the emergency in August of 2011 wane. It is important to recognize that now is an opportunity to continue the fragile recovery, to rebuild the livelihoods and assets, and to provide the resilience needed against future climatic shocks.”- Eric Anderson, Relief International Senior Program officer.