Somalia: Aid agencies have scaled up efforts since the end of August

6 Oct 2011

Dollow, Somalia: Women and children queuing for aid distribution at Kabasa transit centre. Credit: UNHCR/S. Modola
Food and other assistance has reached around two million people in Somalia since famine was declared; security problems are making it hard to deliver aid.

Aid agencies have been able to scale up activities in the last few weeks, despite widespread insecurity and restricted access to people in some parts of the country. The latest reports estimate that around two million people have now received food and other assistance since the famine was declared in July. This is a significant increase since August, when about 1.3 million people were receiving.

However, despite concerted efforts, significant humanitarian needs remain throughout the country. The Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU) says that some four million people remain in crisis, and three quarters of them are in southern Somalia.

There are 450,000 malnourished children in Somalia, 190,000 of whom are suffering severe acute malnutrition. The October rains, while welcome for crops and livestock, also threaten to fuel the spread of water-borne diseases like cholera. People are already weakened by conflict and famine.

To prevent them from dying of disease, health partners aim to help 2.6 million people access basic health care services. An emergency measles vaccination campaign is currently underway, targeting 2.3 million children in the accessible regions of south and central Somalia.WHO has also opened a new field hospital to treat Somalis from the Gedo and Bakool regions, near the town of Dollow.

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