MOGADISHU/BRUSSELS,– The European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) is providing three million Euros (over USD3.8 million) to UNICEF Somalia to help reduce child mortality caused by severe acute malnutrition and diarrhoea among children under five years old and emergency-affected populations.
“Somalia faces one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world. The nutrition situation is heavily deteriorating, mostly affecting children. It is our duty, as the European humanitarian aid donor, to help those most vulnerable in a timely manner and avoid further deterioration of the situation,” said ECHO Somalia expert, Mira Gratier.
Somalia has one of the worst malnutrition rates in the world. Currently there are 50,000 children under five estimated to be severely malnourished and in need of lifesaving nutritional care and support services. It is anticipated that 200,000 children under five will be severely malnourished over the course of the year, mostly in Central and South Somalia.
Given that severely malnourished children are nine times more likely to die than non-malnourished children, the identification and treatment of severely malnourished children is a high priority for UNICEF Somalia.
The contribution from ECHO will be used to procure Ready To Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) for the treatment of 20,000 severely malnourished children. The grant will also enable more than 1,000 vulnerable households to have improved access to food, non-food commodities and essential services.
“The high rates of malnutrition increase the risk of death for Somalia’s children who already face a combined risk posed by conflict, displacement and diseases,” said UNICEF Somalia Representative, Sikander Khan. “Provision of services to help save lives, especially for children under five remains a central component of the response by UNICEF and this contribution from ECHO will go a long way towards saving lives.”
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. For more information about UNICEF and its work, visit www.unicef.org
About European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO)
ECHO funds relief operations for victims of natural disasters and conflicts outside the European Union. Aid is channelled impartially, straight to victims, regardless of their race, ethnic group, religion, gender, age, nationality or political affiliation. ECHO is among UNICEF’s largest humanitarian donors.
For more information on ECHO: http://ec.europa.eu/echo/