Crisis in the Horn of Africa

Humanitarian Action Update, July 2011

Crisis in the Horn of Africa
Humanitarian Action Update, July 2011

The countries that make up the Horn of Africa are facing a severe crisis due to a deadly combination of drought, escalating food prices and armed conflict. Together, these factors have triggered one of the most significant refugee outflows to Kenya and Ethiopia in more than a decade. Erratic and insufficient rainfall trends throughout the region have led to reduced water supplies, disappearing arable land and severe food insecurity in a number of areas. The region’s pastoral communities—often its poorest and most vulnerable populations—are at increasingly high risk due to these successive natural shocks and underdevelopment. High food prices and prolonged drought are worsening an already dire situation for countless families in need of food and water. Thousands of families are crossing the border from Somalia as emergency feeding centers are being set up by UNICEF and other humanitarian agencies in neighboring countries. Some 10,000 refugees are arriving weekly in Dadaab refugee camp, on the border between Somalia and Kenya. In a region accustomed to severe drought, this crisis is being called the worst in 50 years. Countries most seriously affected are Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, and Djibouti. In all, the crisis threatens the livelihoods of some 10 million people. UNICEF’s top priority is to prevent death and malnutrition in the affected population, particularly among the most vulnerable groups: infants, children, pregnant women and breast-feeding mothers. UNICEF estimates that over 2 million young children across the Horn of Africa are malnourished and urgently need lifesaving actions. Half a million of those children face imminent threats to their survival, with long lasting consequences to their physical and mental development. The consequences of disease for already weakened young children are of particular concern, and UNICEF is racing to set up child immunization campaigns. UNICEF, government agencies, NGOs and other UN agencies will be working in the vital areas of water, food, health, and sanitation in the coming days to ward off a massive emergency. Funding shortfalls, however, threaten to disrupt these essential services. UNICEF is seeking $31,788,131 to provide life-saving support during the next three months to the millions of affected children and women. UNICEF in Action UNICEF is directly supporting the rehabilitation of moderately and severely malnourished children in partnership with government health services, NGOs and community organizations. Similar partnerships have supported vital child immunization campaigns, health care outreach, and programs that ensure access to safe water and improved sanitation, particularly in camps for refugees and displaced families.
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Cover Photo Kenya: A Somali woman and a child wait to register for food and other aid in the Dagahaley refugee camp in North Eastern Province, near the Kenya-Somalia border. The camp is among three that comprise the Dadaab camps, located on the outskirts of the town of Dadaab in Garissa District. © UNICEF/Kate Holt

Full funding will allow UNICEF to ensure that the region’s most vulnerable women and children will: • Receive treatment for severe acute malnutrition through the provision of Ready- to-Use-Therapeutic Food (RUTF) such as Plumpy’Nut at community level or at therapeutic feeding centers; • Gain access to clean water through the repair of pumping stations, digging of boreholes, chlorination of water sources, and water trucking; • Receive vaccines against measles, polio and other deadly diseases; and • Resume schooling through the provision of temporary learning spaces and School-in-a-Box kits. While UNICEF concentrates its current efforts on immediate needs, it will also equally commit to viable, longer-term pro-child approaches in the entire region to ensure that this kind of crisis never happens again. The Situation in Somalia Immediate Needs: $9,364,631 As the humanitarian crisis in Somalia continues to deepen, the country faces one of the most severe food security crises in the world. This is especially true in the south, where humanitarian organizations have not had sufficient access to prevent further deterioration of the situation and where need is now greatest. Since the beginning of 2011, tens of thousands of Somalis have fled into neighboring Ethiopia and Kenya. The continuing catastrophe is now affecting 2.85 million people, an increase of nearly 20 percent since January. In southern Somalia, the lack of food for general distribution is a major threat to child survival– and one of the main reasons so many families are leaving for Kenya and Ethiopia. Among Somali children in the refugee camps, particularly the new arrivals, an acute malnutrition rate of up to 40 percent has been reported. UNICEF remains one of the largest service providers in Somalia. With its unrivaled access and influence, UNICEF leads the nutrition; education; and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) clusters, as well as the child protection sub-cluster. UNICEF Somalia is responding to meet the pressing needs of children and women by engaging with government, UN agencies and NGO partners to maximize the use of resources already on the ground. Despite serious ongoing challenges to access, UNICEF has fully activated its emergency response to scale up interventions in the south, and negotiations for authorization and security clearance to now-inaccessible areas of the south are underway. Under severe conditions, UNICEF, along with 100 national and international partners, continues to implement the great majority of the overall response, especially in the south. These efforts include: • Cash transfers for the most vulnerable families to improve access to food;

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• Emergency water and sanitation activities to provide safe drinking water and prevent cholera; • Scaling up the capacity of nutrition centers to treat malnutrition in six of the most affected regions; and • Vaccination campaigns, especially for the influx of displaced people in Mogadishu and Afgoye. The UNICEF-led nutrition cluster, which includes more than 60 national and international partners, is implementing approximately 90 percent of the overall response in Somalia. UNICEF and its partners have also provided access to safe water to over a million people in emergency-affected areas during 2011. Additionally, as of May 2011, UNICEF and partners helped 30,488 emergency-affected and displaced children, including 13,092 girls, resume their schooling. To ensure continuity in education through teacher retention, about 1,400 teachers received incentives. To serve the neediest where they live, protect children, treat acute malnutrition, and prevent further loss of life, livelihoods and assets across Somalia’s southern regions, large-scale emergency assistance and unrestricted humanitarian access are urgently needed. UNICEF Somalia is seeking more than $9.3 million to respond to this unfolding crisis over the next three months.
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The Situation in Kenya Immediate Needs: $9,350,000 While the failure of Kenya’s 2010 rainy seasons signaled a worsening crisis in many of the arid and semi-arid areas of the country, today’s relief response has been further challenged by the steep increase in food and fuel prices. As a result, more than 385,000 Kenyan children and 90,000 pregnant and lactating women are now suffering from malnutrition. Of those children, 65,000 are severely malnourished and at greatest risk. As water sources have dried up, distances between farmland and water sources are growing. As a result, overwhelming demands are placed on such water-provision systems as boreholes and government-sponsored water trucking. Moreover, conflict and drought in neighboring Somalia has put additional pressure on resources at the border and on the limited services available in overcrowded Dadaab refugee camps. Many of Dadaab’s 380,000 refugees entered the country in a state of advanced malnutrition, and their number expands with 10,000 new arrivals every week. Coming from extreme hardship in Somalia, children constitute a significant proportion of the arriving refugee population and they are the most susceptible to acute malnutrition, related health threats, and increased mortality. At the same time, low vaccination rates escalate the risk of disease. In June 2011, in response to the crisis, UNICEF Kenya shifted into emergency-response mode across all sectors. Collaborating with the respective government ministries, UNICEF is co-leading the nutrition, WASH, education, and child protection clusters. UNICEF is supporting the screening for acute malnutrition by providing scales, measuring tape, and weight-for-height charts to all affected districts.
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Given the extreme crisis in the Dadaab camp, UNICEF has responded to a request from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to assist with technical oversight, logistics support and therapeutic feeding supplies for the Dadaab camp. With UNICEF providing 100 percent of therapeutic foods, the nutrition section is bringing in a full-time surge capacity officer to be based in Dadaab to provide technical support.
Photo Kenya: A Somali boy is fingerprinted as part of registration procedures in the Ifo refugee camp in North Eastern Province, near the Kenya-Somalia border. © UNICEF/ Kate Holt

Population movements and food scarcity are linked to greater risk of disease. UNICEF has already responded to polio and measles outbreaks in the drought-prone areas by organizing three rounds of polio and one round of measles immunization campaigns. In addition, emergency medical supplies have been distributed in several affected areas. As part of a highimpact integrated health response, planning is underway for a July 2011 launch of a special measles campaign, including deworming and vitamin A supplementation, in drought-affected districts and in the Dadaab camp. For the duration of the crisis, UNICEF will bring onboard additional surge staff dedicated to WASH cluster coordination. The UNICEF WASH sector is engaging with the UN’s High Commissioner for Refugees to support the provision of clean water in host communities and in the Dadaab camp, and to strengthen partnerships in Marsabit and Wajir for drilling new boreholes and maintaining existing water points.
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UNICEF Kenya is seeking more than $9.3 million over the next three months to respond to the needs of children. The Situation in Ethiopia Immediate Needs: $10,053,500 The number of Ethiopians in need of emergency food assistance increased from 2.8 million at the beginning of 2011 to 3.2 million by April. The combined effects of drought, food price increases, and insufficient resources for preventive measures have resulted in increased malnutrition among children. During the first five months of 2011, increased admission rates of acutely malnourished children into Therapeutic Feeding Program sites were reported. In total, UNICEF estimates that 312,740 severely
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malnourished children will require life-saving nutrition treatment in 2011. This represents a 33 percent increase from projections made at the beginning of the year. Since January, the number of refugees from Somalia into Ethiopia has been increasing, with current levels estimated at 2,500 refugees per day being registered by UNHCR, which reports the pre-existing refugee caseload at 110,000. High levels of moderate acute malnutrition and severe acute malnutrition are reported among this population. UNICEF Ethiopia has increased its nutritional surveillance in the droughtaffected areas and continues to support the government’s emergency nutrition coordination unit. To increase awareness of the nutrition situation and the need for additional resources, UNICEF advocated with both federal and regional government officials and convened donors and partners. To enhance access to basic social services for the conflict-affected areas of eastern Ethiopia, UNICEF supported four new mobile health and nutrition teams to supplement the existing 20 teams supported by UNICEF and 18 supported by NGOs. From January to April, 460 additional Therapeutic Feeding Program sites were established, bringing the total number to 8,105 sites. Between January and April, 78,100 severely malnourished children were treated across the nation’s six emergency drought-affected regions, and 85,353 cartons of RUTF were dispatched to vulnerable areas. In terms of WASH activities, UNICEF and its partners provided nearly 560,000 people with safe drinking water. Additionally, 48 health centers and 18 schools have each been equipped with enough WASH supplies to benefit 250,000 people. Priority emergency activities for the second half of 2011 include: • Continuous support to the mobile health teams in the Somali and Afar regions; • A comprehensive nutrition response; • The resumption of water trucking in drought-affected areas of the Somali and Oromiya regions; and • Preparations for potential outbreaks of diarrhea.
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UNICEF Ethiopia requires more than $10 million to carry out these activities over the next three months. The Situation in Djibouti Immediate Needs: $1,970,000 Childhood illnesses are often linked to consumption of insufficient or unsafe water, and these risks are especially acute during an emergency. In Djibouti, more than 49 percent of people in rural areas do not have access to a protected source of drinking water, and children are affected by lack of access to potable water and increased levels of malnutrition. UNICEF Djibouti is currently leading the sector coordination for WASH and nutrition, and UNICEF has distributed emergency supplies for children being treated for malnutrition. At the same time, malnutrition screening and
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case management has been enhanced throughout the country, covering 70 percent of malnutrition cases. Water trucking has brought safe drinking water to 25,000 people in 20 localities. Water-management committees were formed in 20 rural locales and committee members have been trained to manage, maintain, and protect the water points. In addition to the humanitarian results achieved so far, and to further reduce risk and vulnerability among women and children, UNICEF will scale up its response to priority needs in health, nutrition, and WASH over the next three months. At the community level, 10,000 children suffering from acute malnutrition will be screened and those having complications will be treated at health care facilities with RUTF. UNICEF Djibouti will also continue to support water trucking to 30 communities in water-scarce areas, reaching approximately 25,000 people. Approximately 20,000 people will gain access to safe drinking water through the maintenance and repair of 20 motorized water-pumping stations. Some 30 existing traditional wells will be deepened and reinforced with concrete and draining platforms before being equipped with hand pumps. This will ensure potable water for people in chronically water-scarce areas, saving lives and preventing water shortage’s catastrophic effects, particularly on women and children. UNICEF will also improve Djibouti’s overall immunization coverage by supplying vaccines and enhancing the cold chain for transporting and storing vaccines. UNICEF Djibouti is seeking just under $2 million for its short-term activities.
Photo Kenya: Somali children and women receive mosquito nets from aid workers in the Ifo refugee camp near the KenyaSomalia border. © UNICEF/Kate Holt

UNICEF’s Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office Immediate Needs: $1,050,000 Focusing on enhancing capacity for strategic planning and advocacy, early recovery, and information management, UNICEF’s Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office (ESARO) will continue providing technical support to its individual country offices. In the WASH, nutrition, education, and child protection sectors, dedicated emergency-support staff will help
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To Donate Visit www.unicefusa.org Call 1.800.FOR. KIDS Mail U.S. Fund for UNICEF 125 Maiden Lane New York, NY 10038

sustain quality assurance and oversight for cluster leadership and program implementation. ESARO is seeking $1 million to support this assistance. UNICEF’s Continuing Response UNICEF is currently doing whatever it takes to prevent another major humanitarian disaster from spiraling out of control. We are working with the international community and donors to fully support the responses of governments in the region to stabilize the situation through timely and effective action. Your support will allow UNICEF and its partners to carry out lifesaving efforts for children and women throughout the areas threatened by the drought. Therapeutic and supplementary feeding programs will target malnourished children and women. Mobile health teams will treat droughtrelated illnesses, immunize against diseases like measles, and provide vitamin A supplements to boost children’s vulnerable immune systems. Water and sanitation assistance will include emergency water trucking to schools and feeding centers, borehole drilling, and widespread promotion of sanitation programs to prevent outbreaks of diarrhea and cholera. UNICEF will also provide educational assistance, including school tents and Schoolin-a-Box kits, to drought-affected communities. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF is grateful for your interest in the children of the Horn of Africa. On behalf of the children of the region, thank you for your ongoing commitment to our work. Your support helps to ensure UNICEF’s continued fight for child survival.

U.S. Fund for UNICEF 125 Maiden Lane New York, NY 10038 1.800.4UNICEF www.unicefusa.org

UNICEF has saved more children’s lives than any other humanitarian organization in the world. Working in over 150 countries, UNICEF provides children with health care, clean water, nutrition, education, emergency relief, and more. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF supports UNICEF’s work through fundraising, advocacy, and education in the United States. UNICEF is at the forefront of efforts to reduce child mortality worldwide. In just
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two decades, the number of children under age five dying each day has been cut by one-third. But still, 22,000 children die each day from preventable causes. Our mission is to do whatever it takes to make that number zero by giving children the essentials for a safe and healthy childhood. For more information, visit www.unicefusa.org.

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