UNICEF Geneva Palais Briefing Note On Rising Severe Acute Malnutrition For Children In Somalia

September 13, 2022

  This is a summary of what was said by UNICEF Spokesperson, James Elder, to whom quoted text may be attributed - at today's press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

NEW YORK (September 13, 2022) – “The number of Somalia’s youngest children (those aged 6-59 months) who are expected to suffer severe acute malnutrition (SAM) has now increased from 386,000 to 513,550.

"This is a staggering increase of 33 percent. It means 127,000 more children are at risk of death.

"As we heard last week, children are already dying. Our partners report that some stabilization centers are full, and thus critically ill children are having to receive treatment on the floor.

"Severely malnourished children are up to 11 times more likely to die of diarrhea and measles than well-nourished children, both of which are spiking across the region that is predicted to head into famine.

"Disease outbreaks have spiked between Jan-July, with at least 8,400 suspected acute watery diarrhea (AWD)/cholera cases and around 13,000 suspected measles cases (78 percent children under 5). 

"To give some terrifying context to this latest number: 340,000 children required treatment for severe acute malnutrition at the time of the 2011 famine. Today we are faced with 513,000 children at risk of death.

"That is, more than half a million children facing preventable death – it’s a number, a pending nightmare, we have not seen this century.

"We need radical change to stop famine happening again – ensuring donors commit long term funding to help families build resilience to the effects of this climate crisis. For example, UNICEF’s three-year appeal to help families and their communities build resilience in the Horn of Africa region is currently just 3 percent funded."

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The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) works in more than 190 countries and territories to pursue a more equitable world for every child. UNICEF has helped save more children’s lives than any other humanitarian organization, by providing health care and immunizations, safe water and sanitation, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more.

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For more information please contact:
Jenna Buraczenski, UNICEF USA, (917) 720-1432, jburaczenski@unicefusa.org