Somalia: UNICEF and WFP Respond to Needs of Drought-Affected People in Somaliland and Puntland

In northern Somalia, UNICEF and the World Food Programme (WFP) are stepping up efforts to help communities cope with a severe drought exacerbated by El Niño conditions in Somaliland and Puntland.

The two agencies have adopted a unified response to halt the deteriorating food insecurity and rising malnutrition in the affected areas,by providing an integrated package of life-saving humanitarian assistance.This includes food assistance, nutrition programmes, and health services, as well as support to help communities access safe water and improve sanitation and hygiene conditions. Amid rising school dropouts and forced migration, the focus is also on keeping children in schools and protecting them from family separation, violence and abuse.

"The communities have lived through four successive poor rainy seasons. Their ability to cope with the drought has been stretched to the limit," said UNICEF Representative for Somalia, Steven Lauwerier. "Our concerted efforts are needed now to save the lives of tens of thousands of children and their families. Any delay from the international community will put their lives further at risk of hunger and disease."

In addition to increased malnutrition cases and enrollment in nutrition programmes in the most affected areas, malnutrition-related deaths have been reported in areas such as Awdal region bordering Ethiopia. In response, UNICEF is strengthening services at community level, deploying joint mobile health and nutrition teams to reach pastoral and other hard-to-reach groups. Malnourished children will receive an essential package of primary health care interventions, including emergency immunization. UNICEF is also providing 50,000 households with access to safe water via vouchers in the affected areas, and have repaired seven boreholes.

http://allafrica.com/stories/201604111194.html

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