Around 730 Somali children have died of malnutrition since the start of the year

About 730 Somali children have died of malnutrition since the beginning of the year

Somalia is on the brink of famine due to a historic drought affecting the Horn of Africa.

Some 730 children died between January and July at feeding centers in Somalia, a country on the brink of famine, the UN Children's Fund said ( UNICEF), which estimates that the true figure is higher.

Malnutrition has reached an unprecedented level, UNICEF Somalia Representative Wafaa Saeed told reporters in Geneva during an online press briefing from Mogadishu.

About 730 children died at feeding centers across the country between January and July, she said.

That's less than 1% of children admitted to these centres, but UNICEF estimates the true figure to be higher as many deaths go unreported.

Some 1.5 million children, or nearly half of children under five, are at risk of acute malnutrition. And of these, 385,000 will need treatment for severe acute malnutrition, Saeed said.

Somalia is on the brink of famine, the head of the UN humanitarian agency, in a final warning to avert disaster in this Horn of Africa country plagued by historic drought.

Mothers at a UNICEF center in Garbaharey, Somalia

Due to the drought, many water sources have dried up. Many of them have also dried up due to overuse, and we have around 4.5 million people who need an emergency water supply, the representative said. from UNICEF in Somalia.

This figure is expected to increase as the drought worsens, while, according to the organization, the price of #x27;water has increased by 55-85% since January.

No matter how much food a malnourished child eats, they will not recover if the x27;water he drinks is not healthy, Ms. Saeed assured.

UNICEF is particularly concerned because history shows that when levels of severe acute malnutrition in children combine with deadly disease outbreaks, child mortality is increasing dramatically.

We are really very concerned about this, as we are seeing an increase in outbreaks of acute watery diarrhea. There have been over 8,400 cases this year and about 13,000 cases of measles. This year alone, the number of measles cases is higher than the combined toll of 2020 and 2021, Ms. Saeed added.

Across the country, a total of 7.8 million people, nearly half the population, are affected by a historic drought, with 213,000 at grave risk of starvation, according to the UN.

La Somalia was hit in 2011-2012 by a famine that claimed an estimated 260,000 lives, half of them children under the age of five.

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