Famine sending thousands of Somali Children out of School

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UN Photo/Ilyas Ahmed

More than 363,000 children are reported to be suffering from malnutrition, 71,000 of whom are now facing the most life-threatening form of hunger.

By Nangayi Guyson, nangayi.guyson@alleastafrica.com

Kampala, Uganda-Thousands of children are dropping out of school in Somalia after their desperate families fleD into the neighbouring countries due to the prolonging famine.

According to the statement issued by Save the Children , Millions of children in Somalia are in serious  urgent need of food before June this year  to halt the  risk of starvation and death.

Save the Children says is in urgent need of $60 million to reach out to 1.2 million Somalis affected by the crisis.

UN aid agencies have also warned that Somalia’s 6 million people, half its population is most likely to face real famine due to food insecurity that has hit the East African nation.

The UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is also calling on the international community to provide $300 million in life-saving funds by April.

More than 363,000 children are reported to be suffering from malnutrition, 71,000 of whom are now facing the most life-threatening form of hunger.

A Ugandan solider working with AU forces to fight al-shaababa militants who asked his name to be withheld because he is not responsible for talking to the media told Alleastafrica that “I have visited to areas like Gedo, Banadir Mogadishu, Bakool , Mudug , and  Nugaal, what I can tell you is that  the situation in Somalia is worrying, you can find people spending days without water and food, people and animals are dying, recently there were reports of Seven people, including children confirmed died of hunger in Gedo region”.

Prolonged dry spells that forced Somalia to miss two major seasons of  important rains  have resulted in severe water and food shortages making the prices of these necessities terribly highly.

About three-quarters of the country’s livestock has also been reported dead and cereal production is down 75%, according to the WFP.

The ministry of Agriculture in Somalia together with other foreign Aid Food and Agriculture Agencies are fighting the situation by responding to the most affected areas. The focus is being put particularly in rural areas where farmers can be given cash to keep their animals alive – mitigation measures such as nutrition, and health support are also being considered.

This is not the first time Somalia is facing famine, in  July 2011, the country was hit by hunger that  claimed the lives of more than 260,000 people after  Islamist Al-shaababagroup allied to al-Qaida,  banned food aid deliveries to the areas of south-central Somalia that it controlled for a full a decade.

Somalia has been in conflict for more than two decades and about 1.1 million Somalis have been displaced in their own country, and almost another 1 million people have sought refuge in neighbouring countries. High food prices, combined with frequent droughts and floods have compounded poverty and continue to threaten livelihoods.

Somalia has an estimated population of 12 million. About 82 percent of Somalis are poor across multiple dimensions of health, education, standard of living. Overall, 73 percent of Somalis live on under US$2 per day.

2016 report by UNICEF  indicate that Somalia has one of the world’s lowest proportions of children attending school. More than half of children are out of school, and less than 10 per cent of these children are starting school at later age or dropping out due to constant factors of poverty, famine, and conflict.

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