WHO scales up response in Somalia as drought-affected populations face difficult situation
The World Health Organization (WHO) is scaling up its response in Somalia to provide critical health services for 1.5 million people currently affected by severe drought conditions and a worsening food crisis. However, the Organization urgently requires US$ 10 million as part of the United Nations appeal for the first 6 months of 2017.
The humanitarian situation in Somalia continues to deteriorate, and there is a high risk that the country will face its third famine in 25 years. More than 6.2 million people – half of the total population – are in urgent need of humanitarian aid, including almost 3 million facing a food security crisis. Nearly 5.5 million people are at risk of contracting waterborne diseases, more than half of whom are women and children under 5 years of age.
Acute drought in many parts of Somalia has reduced the availability of clean water sources, and the food crisis has given way to malnutrition. More than 363 000 acutely malnourished children and 70 000 severely malnourished children are in need of urgent and life-saving support. According to United Nations estimates, if the current situation food and security continues, these numbers are estimated to double in 2017.
Drought conditions have increased the spread of epidemic-prone diseases such as acute watery diarrhoea, cholera and measles. In the first 7 weeks of 2017, over 6000 cases and 65 deaths by acute watery diarrhoea/ cholera have been reported, and a total of 2578 cases of suspected measles were reported as of September 2016.