A tragedy of epic proportions is unfolding in the Horn of Africa, where hundreds of thousands of children are facing death due to starvation. The disastrous combination of a paralyzing drought, skyrocketing food prices and conflict has left over 11 million people battling hunger to survive.
VIDEO: 21 July 2011 - UNICEF correspondent Chris Niles reports on UNICEF’s response to the growing crisis in the Horn of Africa.
The United Nations has declared famine in two regions of southern Somalia - southern Bakool and Lower Shabelle - and warned that if immediate action is not taken, famine could spread to all eight southern regions in two months.
UNICEF estimates that 1.85 million are in dire need of urgent aid. In some regions one in every three children is severely malnourished, their lives at risk.
Race against time
The organization has appealed for urgent help to provide the critical assistance to prevent what is already the world’s worst humanitarian disaster from becoming even more serious.
Since the beginning of July, UNICEF has delivered 1,300 metric tons of life saving supplies to some of the hardest hit areas in southern Somalia, including enough therapeutic supplies to treat over 66,000 children malnourished children.
In an effort to prevent the outbreak of disease, insecticide-treated mosquito nets and essential medicines including vaccines are being airlifted to support massive vaccination campaigns that will be conducted over the coming weeks.
Read the full field report from UNICEF correspondent Chris Niles here