2 November 2011

As rains arrive in Somalia after months of drought, UNICEF and partners are working hard to prevent a second wave of deaths from disease.

"The current rains will bring some relief to drought-affected areas in Somalia and neighbouring countries," said Elhadj As Sy, UNICEF's Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa.

"However, they also increase the risk of disease outbreaks and hamper the distribution of aid."

"Escalating fighting across the south of Somalia is also making it even more difficult for our partners to safely deliver life-saving support to children and their families."

As Sy said these factors could aggravate the humanitarian crisis in Somalia and the region. "UNICEF will expand its efforts to reach children wherever they are and minimise the impact of the deteriorating situation. We appeal to our donors to ramp up their invaluable support," he added.

In Mogadishu, a UNICEF-supported measles vaccination campaign began last week for 750,000 children between six months and 15 years old. Since the declaration of famine in July, more than 1 million children have been vaccinated against measles in Somalia.

"Across the country, tens of thousands of children have died in past months, and hundreds more die every day", said Sikander Khan, UNICEF’s Representative in Somalia.

"Any delay or disruption in the delivery of assistance is a matter of life and death." 

 
A baby girl receives a de-worming tablet in the village of Malayley, about 30 kilometres from Dadaab, near the Kenya-Somalia border.  © UNICEF/NYHQ2011-1217/Siegfried Modola
A baby girl receives a de-worming tablet in the village of Malayley, about 30 kilometres from Dadaab, near the Kenya-Somalia border. © UNICEF/NYHQ2011-1217/Siegfried Modola