Relief efforts are said to be improving in the drought-stricken Horn of Africa, but international funding continues to fall short. The head of U.N. humanitarian assistance, Catherine Bragg, says the United Nations remains more than $560 million short on aid for Somalia and more than $1 billion short region-wide. On a visit to refugee camps in Kenya, U.N. Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos said aid is reaching more people in need.
Valerie Amos: “We are making some progress in terms of being able to scale up our operations. It is clear that we need to do much more in terms of being able to provide facilities, support, supplies within Somalia itself. That means, of course, encouraging colleagues who are working on the political side of things to try and make that progress even faster. But also, our negotiations to get additional support into al-Shabab-controlled territory must continue.”
Some 12 million people face starvation in the Horn of Africa, with 250 children dying in Somalia each day. At a refugee camp in Ethiopia, a physician with Doctors Without Borders said many children are receiving medical treatment too late to save their lives.
Carolina Nanclares: “They’re a very, very vulnerable population, and the mortality rate amongst the malnourished children is very high, and especially in these conditions in which the children are coming with very, very severe complications and very, very late sometimes. So the care that we can provide sometimes is too late for us to be able to save everyone’s life.”