Mogadishu, 17 July 2018 – The European Union (EU) is contributing an additional €5 million in humanitarian support, towards UNICEF’s response, which will provide lifesaving health, nutrition, water, sanitation, education and protection services to children caught in the ongoing crisis in Somalia.
The current contribution brings EU support to a total of €8 million this year alone, with €3 million contributed early this year to respond to the impact of last year’s severe drought, this year’s floods, which affected 830,000 people in the central and southern parts of the country, and support a further 170,000 people adversely affected by Cyclone Sagar in the north.
“The devastating effects of two years of drought and the recent flooding, in addition to the conflict have taken an enormous toll on the lives of Somalis and children are often the first to suffer,” said Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides. “This new EU funding will make a significant difference by protecting thousands of Somali children and providing them with life-saving support and a chance to get an education.”
Beyond the acute humanitarian needs caused by the cyclone and floods, 5.4 million people are still in need of humanitarian assistance throughout Somalia, including nearly 3 million children. Malnutrition rates remain alarmingly high, particularly in the camps for the displaced communities.
Since the beginning of 2018, UNICEF has reached 119,500 children under-five with treatment for severe acute malnutrition, which is 60 per cent of the agency’s annual target. Disease outbreaks such as acute watery diarrhea/cholera and measles, also pose a major threat to children, as 5,892 cases of measles and 5,582 cases of acute watery diarrhea/cholera have been reported to date.
“We are deeply grateful to the European Union and its Member States for the support and trust, extended to us over the years. Thanks to their unwavering commitment to Somalia’s children, we have been able to respond with agility to the numerous crises affecting Somali children,” said Leila Pakkala, UNICEF’s Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa. “But the crisis is far from over. Nearly 3 million children still need support. We call on all partners to continue investing in the survival, development and the resilience of Somalia’s children, their families and communities.”
Through generous funding from the EU and other donors UNICEF has reached 238,000 people with emergency health services, supported 803,008 with temporary access to safe water, provided education to 50,791 children (42 per cent girls) and protection services to 4,757 people.
The EU funding will help UNICEF provide timely assistance to Somali children and their families. An estimated 120,000 children will receive integrated health and nutrition services, including treatment for severe acute malnutrition for 50,000 of them, while nearly 19,000 vulnerable children and adolescents, most of them living in the camps for the displaced families, will benefit from UNICEF’s expanded education and protection services made possible by the funding.
Further, the support will enable UNICEF to procure, preposition and distribute emergency water, sanitation and hygiene kits, containing items such as water disinfectants, water containers and soap, for 254,000 people.
UNICEF has been working in Somalia since 1972 when its first office opened in Mogadishu. Today UNICEF has several offices across the country, including Mogadishu, Baidoa, Garowe and Hargeisa. Together with over 130 international and national NGOs and community-based organizations, UNICEF delivers services in Health, Nutrition, WASH, Education and Child Protection, and responds to emergencies and supports peacebuilding and development.
About EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid
The European Union and its Member States are the world’s leading donor of humanitarian aid.
Relief assistance is an expression of European solidarity with people in need all around the world. It aims to save lives, prevent and alleviate human suffering, and safeguard the integrity and human dignity of populations affected by natural disasters and man-made crises.
The European Commission ensures rapid and effective delivery of EU relief assistance through its two main instruments: civil protection and humanitarian aid.
Through its civil protection and humanitarian aid operations department (ECHO), the European Commission helps over 120 million victims of conflict and disasters every year.
With headquarters in Brussels and a global network of field offices, the Commission’s civil protection and humanitarian aid operations department provides assistance to the most vulnerable people on the basis of humanitarian needs.