An aircraft chartered by UNICEF, the world's leading children organisation, haslanded in Somalia with five tonnes of life-saving emergency supplies.
The plane, which touched down in Garbahare, Gedo region on the weekend, carried micro-nutrients and medicines for malnourished children, as well as emergency high-energy biscuits, to benefit 750 vulnerable children and their families affected by the drought in Garbahare and Bardera.
UNICEF NGO partners received the supplies as soon as the plane landed in Garbahare. It was the second relief flight to have landed outside of the capital Mogadishu. These are the first flights in two years which have been permitted in the militant-controlled area.
UNICEF UK Executive Director David Bull, speaking ahead of a visit to eastern Somalia, says that "since famine was declared four weeks ago, UNICEF has responded swiftly providing close to 4200 tonnes of life-saving supplies. We are establishing a supplies pipeline by plane, ship, and truck which will allow us and our partners to reach the most vulnerable children. By month-end we expect to have that pipeline solidly in place.
"UNICEF is using an integrated approach including treating severely malnourished children who will die without assistance as well as widespread supplementary feeding for vulnerable children and their families to prevent them tipping over the edge into a state of severe malnutrition.
"As the clock ticks more children are at risk of dying from severe malnutrition and we are grateful to members of the UK public who have recognised that it is time to share and have been sharing. We have received nearly £6 million in donations by the UK public which have helped to provide 490 tonnes of life-saving high-protein foods, almost 2000 tonnes of food aid and nearly 700,000 doses of vaccines among other items."
UNICEF has appealed for more than £221 million (US$363 million) to provide this emergency relief to save children’s lives across East Africa.
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.
For further information please contact:
Terry Ally, UNICEF UK, on 020 7375 6030, firstname.lastname@example.org.
NOTE TO EDITOR
UNICEF has been working across all areas of Somalia for 40 years. We are the largest supplier of therapeutic and supplementary nutrition in the country. Despite the challenges to a country torn apart by conflict, insecurity and poverty, UNICEF and its partners, is delivering for children. We work in every region in the south where we operate through a network of 70 non-government partners and deploy third party monitors to ensure that supplies reach children.
Famine has been declared in five regions of the south and indications are that the famine could deepen and spread across other regions in the coming weeks.
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