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67 Children Die of Malnutrition in Ethiopia in June

NAIROBI – A total of 67 children have died of malnutrition in June in Ethiopia’s Somali region where a humanitarian emergency is taking place, according to an international NGO on Tuesday.

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) teams have treated 6,136 children under five since January in Danod, Lehel-Yucub, Wardher, Galadi and Daratole, 10 times higher than those registered in the same period last year, when 491 children received treatment for acute malnutrition.

“The numbers of young children with severe acute malnutrition in Doolo Zone are the highest our teams have seen in the area in the 10 years we have worked in the region,” said Saskia van der Kam, MSF nutritional adviser.

“The deaths of these children show the gravity of the situation. What we are seeing is a humanitarian emergency,” she added.

MSF is also concerned as the World Food Program’s supply of emergency food aid for that region will run out at the end of July, “leaving 1.7 million people even more vulnerable to malnutrition.”

This food crisis came after two seasons with no rains, causing the death of large numbers of cattle in Doolo because of the drought.

As a result, many people have had to abandon their normal life and settle in informal camps, where food and safe water are insufficient.

“Our teams are seeing entire communities left without milk, as most of their animals have died,” said Karline Kleijer, MSF emergency program manager.

“Without their animals, they no longer have a source of income or the means of transporting food and water when on the move. People are knocking on our doors begging for food,” she added.

Faced with this alarming situation, MSF called for increased support for this region where more food aid is urgently needed.


posted by Gheremew Araghaw

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