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Climate-Induced Drought Endangering Children's Lives in Somalia
Severe drought caused by four consecutive failed rainy seasons has plunged the Horn of Africa into crisis, killing livestock, destroying livelihoods and pushing increasingly desperate families out of their homes in search of water, nutrition and shelter. Mothers walk for days with their malnourished children in their arms, hoping to reach a health center before it's too late.
By early October 2022, some 8.5 million people — 4.2 million of them children — across Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Eritrea and Djibouti were facing severe water shortages, while 20 million required immediate food assistance as a result of the drought.
This is what climate change looks like.
Speaking from Somalia in the video below, UNICEF spokesperson James Elder offers viewers a powerful glimpse of what UNICEF is doing to scale up emergency services that provide a lifeline to families in crisis.
Scorched earth, dead livestock
To meet the immediate needs of families struggling to survive without drinkable water, UNICEF is trucking water in across the country. In the past three months, 500,000 people in Somalia have received safe water delivered by UNICEF.
UNICEF is scaling up lifesaving services
In September 2022, UNICEF treated 33,809 children in Somalia for life-threatening severe malnutrition — a 66 percent increase in the number of children treated during the same period in 2021. Of the children who received treatment, 96 percent recovered successfully.
More help is needed. "An escalating malnutrition crisis is pushing millions of children to the brink of starvation," said UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell. "Unless we do more, that crisis will become a catastrophe."
Top photo: At the Ladan displacement camp, in Dollow, Somalia, UNICEF is improving existing water systems — adding pipeline extensions and other upgrades to better supply health facilities and to increase the overall number of people served with safe water. © UNICEF/UN0727601/Sewunet. Video edited by Tong Su for UNICEF USA.