UNICEF, the world’s leading children’s organisation, has significantly scaled up its relief effort across south and central Somalia since famine was declared in the war torn country in late July.

Chief Executive of UNICEF UK, David Bull, is currently visiting UNICEF’s emergency response work in the Horn of Africa - including Lower Juba in south Somalia which is one of the areas with the most need.

Speaking from the field Bull said that UNICEF has leveraged its relationship with more than 70 local NGOs across south and central Somalia which it had built up over 40 years of unbroken service in the country.

“I’ve been in one of the areas in greatest need in south Somalia today and seen UNICEF aid reaching children and their families who are most at risk.

“We are able to do this across every region in south and central Somalia through our local partner organisations who have been delivering aid not only in Mogadishu but also at the heart of where it is most needed.”

“UNICEF has an established pipeline of supplies running from Kenya and through Mogadishu to many hard to reach areas. However, the needs are great and not all areas are fully accessible for staff and supplies. Nevertheless, UNICEF continuously looks for windows of opportunity to reach vulnerable children and their families and we are making a difference.”

UNICEF supports 500 feeding centres established by our partners in the south of Somalia and we and our partners are working on reaching a total of 33,500 children per month suffering from moderate acute malnutrition or severe acute malnutrition.

Since July, emergency health supplies have been distributed through hospitals in southern Somalia and are benefitting 130,000 people. UNICEF’s work since July has also ensured safe and clean water supplies for nearly half a million people in the capital Mogadishu alone.

We are also reaching Somali children and their families across the border in Kenya and Ethiopia.

So far, the UK public has donated £6.5 million to UNICEF’s East Africa Children’s Appeal.

Our total international appeal for the Horn of Africa is US$363.68 million (£221.48m) of which the portion for Somalia is US$226.42 million (£137.89m) of which UNICEF Somalia has received $145.5 million (£80.6m) so far.

Donations to UNICEF can be made by texting the world SHARE to 78866 to make a £5 donation or via the website www.unicef.org.uk. UNICEF receives no funds from the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC).

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For further information please contact:
Terry Ally, UNICEF UK, Tel: 020 7375 6014,
E-mail: terrya@unicef.org.uk 
Or call the UNICEF UK press office on 020 7375 6030

NOTE TO EDITOR:

BLANKET FEEDING: Blanket feeding programmes to reach 200,000 households are underway in six regions - outside of Mogadishu. We are so far operating in Lower Shabelle, Bay, Hiran, and Bakol. Three centres providing prepared meals ("wet feeding") are operational in Gedo and Lower Juba regions in the towns of Dolo, Luuq and Dobley where a high number of IDPs are transiting to cross the border to refugee camps in Ethiopia and Kenya. UNICEF is in the process of identifying partners to start blanket supplementary feeding in the Afgoye corridor and Middle Shabelle regions.

HEALTH: Measles vaccinations are on-going at wet feeding sites and in districts of Mogadishu recently vacated by Al-Shabab. Emergency immunisations are being prepared in additional districts of Gedo region and in Bakool, particularly in El Berde (Bakool), Garbaharrey (Gedo), with negotiations on-going with local authorities to extend the effort to Bardera and Burdubo districts.

EDUCATION: Over 37,000 children in Mogadishu are being supported by UNICEF and partners to attend 155 schools which have remained open over the school break in order to ensure continuity of learning and access to other services for the children enrolled. In the event that schools open in September, UNICEF and partners have finalised plans to scale-up support to reach a total of 300,000 primary school children from September in all regions of central and southern Somalia, for displaced children. Registration of children is underway at the first 132 of 353 Child Friendly Spaces (CFS) that are being established in Bakool, Banadir, Bay, Lower Shabelle, and Middle Shabelle regions. Sites have been identified for a further 80 CFS in Mogadishu and the Afgooye Corridor.

About UNICEF

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