David Bull, Executive Director of UNICEF UK has just returned from Somalia and is available for interview on his findings on aid assistance to famine-hit areas

Calling Somalia “a forgotten emergency”, Executive Director of UNICEF UK, David Bull, says much more needs to be done to reach everyone in need of assistance in the impoverished East African country where famine has spread to yet another region.

Just back from seeing how funds raised in the UK have been spent in Somalia and Kenya, he said that UNICEF has been working across every region in south-central Somalia where three-quarters of a million people are in imminent danger of dying from hunger within the next four months unless aid reaches them urgently as famine has now spread to Bay region.

He said that UNICEF, which has been working in the country for nearly 40 years, has seven offices including in south-central which is at the heart of the famine. UNICEF has 158 staff working inside Somalia and another 100 in Nairobi.

He added:

“The UK public has donated more than £6 million pounds to UNICEF and that money is already saving lives across the Horn of Africa. We are getting aid into famine areas and we are reaching tens of thousands of people who would otherwise be walking hundreds of kilometres for aid. For those on the move we are providing help in Somalia as well as in Kenya. I’ve just been there and I have seen this.

“But the severity of the crisis means that more needs to be done.

“Although we have raised significant amounts of money in the last two months, the scale and magnitude of this disaster mean that there is no quick fix to scale up and reach all those in need.  We are getting aid into the south and have initiated a pipeline to help hundreds of thousands of people over the next few months with food, nutritional supplies, immunisation and other vital services.

“There is no doubt that the ongoing insecurity has compounded the challenges of access. Nevertheless through a network of more than 70 local partners we are able to reach children who need our help throughout Somalia.”

In the last two months, UNICEF has sent in aid by 58 chartered flights, five ships and 78 trucks – and this is to Somalia alone. There has been one flight to Bay, four to Gedo, two to Puntland, two to Mundug, and 49 to Mogadishu. Trucks have been to various parts of the country and the ships have delivered aid to the port of Mogadishu.

In addition to providing medical aid and therapeutic food to severely malnourished children in the famine-hit areas, UNICEF and its partners is also targeting the regions of Hiran, Middle Shabelle, Lower Shabelle, Mogadishu, and Afgooye Corridor with blanket feeding for tens of thousands of families.

In the remaining south-central regions (Gedo, Bay, Bakool, Middle Juba and Lower Juba) UNICEF and other NGOs are providing a combination of blanket feeding in those districts where food is not available in the markets and where food is available, they are assisting the households to buy food and medicine locally. UNICEF is also scaling up access to safe water, provision of education, immunisation, and health services and child protection.

Just £5 will help UNICEF feed a child for a week. To donate £5 to UNICEF, text SHARE to 78866, call 0800 037 9797, or go to www.unicef.org.uk.

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For further information please contact:
Terry Ally, UNICEF UK, on 020 7375 6030, terrya@unicef.org.uk.


• David Bull has just returned from Somalia and is available for interview. He can speaking about the successes and challenges of reaching famine-stricken people in this forgotten emergency.

General Information

• 4 million people, or 53% of the Somalia population, are in crisis countrywide – an increase from 3.7 million people in July; 3.3 million are in need of lifesaving assistance. (FSNAU/FEWSNET)
• Of the 4 million in crisis, 3 million people are in the southern regions of Somalia, a 7% increase from 2.8 million in July; 2.6 million of them are in need of lifesaving assistance. (FSNAU/FEWSNET)
• 750,000 people are famine-affected, a 66% increase from 450,000 in July. (FSNAU/FEWSNET)
• Hundreds people are dying every day due to the famine in the southern regions; at least half of these are children. (FSNAU/FEWSNET)
• Potential Cholera, Malaria and Measles outbreaks could exacerbate the situation leading to more deaths in the coming rainy season from October-December. (FSNAU/FEWSNET)
• Famine has now been declared in Bay region of Somalia, the sixth area along with southern Bakool, parts of Middle Shabelle, Lower Shabelle, IDPs in the Afgooye Corridor and IDPs in Mogadishu. (FSNAU/FEWSNET)
• Without large-scale interventions, famine will likely spread to agropastoral and riverine areas of Gedo, the Jubas, and Hiraan, the Shabelles and Hiraan regions over the coming four months. (FSNAU/FEWSNET)
• Emergency conditions will persist well into the first quarter of 2012. (FSNAU/FEWSNET)


UNICEF is the world’s leading organisation working for children and their rights in more than 190 countries. As champion of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, UNICEF works to help every child realise their full potential. Together with our partners, UNICEF delivers health care, nutrition, education and protection to children in urgent need, while working with governments to ensure they deliver on their promise to protect and promote the rights of every child. UNICEF relies entirely on voluntary donations from individuals, governments, institutions and corporations, and is not funded by the UN budget. For more information, please visit www.unicef.org.uk