Described as "the worst humanitarian disaster in the world" by the UN Refugee Agency, the famine in Somalia is estimated to affect nearly half the Somali population - 3.7 million people. Tens of thousands have died; the majority were children. They arrive at UNHCR camps exhausted, dehydrated and malnourished. Up to 50% of children suffer from severe malnutrition. They urgently need medicine, high-protein and high-energy food, clean water, shelter and other basic services.
The United Nations has declared that famine exists in five regions of southern Somalia. Across the country, nearly half of the Somali population (3.7 million people) are now in crisis with 12 million in need of aid across the Horn of Africa Thousands arrive each day seeking aid & safety at UNHCR camps after walking up to 30 days - a devastating journey for children. Up to 50% of new arrivals are seriously malnourished. Utterly exhausted, some are dying within 24 hours despite emergency care.
The number of arrivals at UNHCR camps are outpacing capacity. Systems for meeting the food and health needs are close to buckling. Additional funds will enable UNHCR scale up its assistance and deliver relief supplies such as plastic sheeting, kitchen utensils, blankets, jerry cans and high-energy biscuits to 180,000 people. UNHCR must also distribute 45,000 tents to Somali families settling in makeshift shelters. In all, we aim to reach 400,000 people in dire need by the end of August.
The impact of this famine will be seen for years to come. If additional aid is not expedited immediately, the famine is expected to grow to engulf the entire country, along with parts of Kenya, Uganda, and Ethiopia. Currently UNHCR needs emergency funding to provide shelter, humanitarian aid, and protection through at least the end of the year. If our goal is met, we will be able to prevent the famine from spreading, potentially saving hundreds of thousands of lives, the majority children.