(Xinhua) -- International charity on
Thursday expressed concern about the alarming increase in severe
malnutrition among children in drought-hit Somalia.
Save the Children said its new study found "very critical"
levels of severe malnutrition in two of six districts assessed
in some of the worst-affected parts of Somalia, which could
spell disaster for a country where livelihoods have already been
devastated and the economy crippled by the drought.
Hassan Saadi Noor, Save the Children’s Country Director in
Somalia, said 7 percent of all children under five in the
districts of Badhan and Adado in Somaliland, an autonomous
region of Somalia, are severely malnourished.
"We are on the brink of a massive catastrophe in Somalia with
the death of three quarters of the country’s livestock, a rapid
increase of children suffering severe malnutrition and the
depletion of water stores in dozens of communities," Noor said.
The assessment also found exceptionally high rates of
stunting in Hudur district, another part of Somalia heavily
impacted by drought and an area devastated by the famine in
Less than 10 percent of children in Somalia are currently
registered in a nutrition program, according to the study, which
warns that children could start dying "in the near future"
unless immediate action is taken, including a major and rapid
scaling up of nutrition outreach services.
"Despite April traditionally being the wettest month of the
year for much of the country, it has barely rained so far.
"Our fear is that if this pattern continues and the rainy
season fails again, we could start seeing children dying in
significant numbers," said Noor.
"Donors have stepped up in recent months, however such is the
scale of this crisis that even more funding is needed to address
malnutrition directly, including improving access to food and
water to prevent it in the first place."
Save the Children’s mobile health teams in Somaliland also
reported a dramatic increase in the proportion of children they
have screened who are moderately or severely malnourished,
rising from 11 percent to 26 percent between February and March.
"The last two or three months have been devastating right
across Somalia. You see the dead animals everywhere here, and
there simply isn’t any pasture left in many parts," Noor said.
While drought has left 6.2 million people, more than half of
the population of Somalia, in need of immediate lifesaving
assistance, a further 8.3 million drought-affected people in
Kenya and Ethiopia are also in need of urgent help.
Somalia launches humanitarian
coordination centre to curb droughts
MOGADISHU, (Xinhua) --
The Somalia government on Wednesday launched a
National Humanitarian Coordination Centre to help manage
disasters and curb recurrent drought in the Horn of Africa
The centre which was
launched by Deputy Prime Minister Mahdi Mohamed Guled called on
international community to increase funding and expand
humanitarian programs to the drought-stricken communities.
“We call upon all
our partners and UN agencies to fully engage with us in the
making of systems that could better help us manage disasters and
minimize the impact of such recurrent drought in Somalia,” Guled
said during the launch in Mogadishu.
The launch of the
centre comes a time when millions of Somalis are suffering from
a severe drought affecting millions across the country.
With almost half of
the Somali population in need of assistance, including 330,000
children who are acutely malnourished, the UN chief reiterated
an appeal for 825 million U.S. dollars for the support of 5.5
million people for six months.
Guled said the
government has done its best to respond to the drought situation
and immediately engaged with the existing National Drought
Committee that had in place the necessary strategy and mechanism
to help alleviate the plight of the distressed population at
“As you are all
aware, Somalia is prone to recurrent drought with documented
irregular poor pattern of rainy seasons since 2014 as being the
driver of the current drought,” Guled said.
According to the
National Drought Committee over 6.8 million people across
Somalia have been directly affected by the drought with nearly
1.8 million people in dire need of immediate emergency relief,
but Guled warned that the number could top up to over 2.5
million people if they don’t respond urgently.
“As a result of the
push-pull factors associated with similar crisis, we are
witnessing a massive increase in IDP numbers into urban areas
already strained with earlier displacement compounded with the
lack of adequate resources to deal with such enormous influx,”
“This demands more
coherent and immediate effort to deal with the aftermath with
the urgency it demands,” the deputy PM added.
Guled said the
government is extremely concerned about the impact of the
crisis, particularly in areas that are experiencing water
shortages and do not have even the facilities to store water.
“Of specific concern
are the reports we received from affected communities who are
located close to the dried up river where all the nearby
boreholes have dried up as well. In many parts of the country,
caravans of destitute families have moved out of their
localities to seek food and water in other areas by foot having
lost their entire livestock and in some case vulnerable family
members on the long trek,” he said.
African Union probes death
of soldier by colleague in Somalia
MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) --
The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM)
said Thursday it had launched investigations into the killing of
one of its soldiers in Bula-burte town in Hiiraan region of
central Somalia on Wednesday.
The Djiboutian soldier was reportedly killed by his colleague
from the Somalia National Army (SNA) following an argument.
AMISOM Force Spokesperson Wilson Rono confirmed the incident,
saying investigation is underway to establish the reasons behind
"A soldier from Djiboutian contingent under AMISOM was killed
by another soldier from SNA on Wednesday after argument between
them in Bula-burte town. We are investigating the cause of the
incident," Rono told Xinhua by telephone.
Mahad Hassan, Minister of Information for Hirshabelle State
in Somalia, said the Djibouti soldier had slapped a woman at a
local restaurant, sparking reaction from the SNA soldier.
This is the first Djiboutian soldier under AU mission to have
been killed in a friendly fire in Hiiraan region in central
Somalia regards China
vital ally in reconstruction: minister
MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) --
Somalia is keen to strengthen bilateral ties with
China in order to hasten the country’s reconstruction after
decades of civil strife, a Somali minister has said.
State Minister of Foreign Affairs and International
Cooperation Abdulkadir Ahmedkheyr Abdi said Beijing has for
decades lent a helping hand to the Horn of Africa nation with
projects including Benadir Hospital, the National Theatre and
the Mogadishu Stadium.
"Somalia is the first East African country to establish
diplomatic ties with China," the minister told Xinhua in a
He lauded China for standing with Somalia through a
tumultuous journey marked by civil war, terrorism and natural
calamities since the two countries established diplomatic
relationship in 1960.
On his part, Qin Jian, the new Chinese Ambassador to Somalia,
said Beijing was committed to helping Somalia reconstruct its
economic and political pillars destroyed during the civil war.
Qin noted that reopening of Chinese Embassy in Mogadishu
after closure occasioned by the civil war had reaffirmed the
resilience of Sino-Somalia ties.
"That is a demonstration to China-Somalia brotherhood," the
Abdulkadir said China has supported humanitarian
interventions in the Horn of African state that is currently
grappling with a severe drought.
"For many years, China has always been a donor to Somalia,"
Abdulkadir said, adding that Beijing has pledged 10 million
dollars to support drought victims and an additional 5 million
dollars to be channeled through the Kenyan government to support
repatriation of Somalia refugees.
The foreign minister said the Somali government has created a
conducive environment to attract Chinese investors.
"With improved security we hope Chinese companies will invest
in Somalia and be part of our reconstruction," said Abdulkadir.
He added that China could be a formidable market for
Somalia’s agricultural products.
"We look forward to reviving our export potential especially
in agricultural produce like bananas. Somalia used to be the
biggest banana exporter in Africa before the civil war. Our
bananas are of high quality," said Abdulkadir.
He also noted that Somalia has an expansive coastline with
pristine beaches that could be an ideal destination for Chinese
"I hope the Chinese tourists will come to Somalia once
security improves," said Abdulkadir.
He said academic and cultural exchanges between China and
Somalia will strengthen bonds of friendship while unleashing
"Over 1,400 Somalia students have studied in China and some
of them can speak fluent Chinese ...
"With more people-to-people exchanges, Somalia and China can
further strengthen co-operation and friendship," he said.
UN appeals for more funding to prevent Famine in South Sudan
Millions in drought-hit Northeast Africa requiring food