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International charity World Vision said on Friday that it is seeking 18.5 million U.S. dollars to provide life-saving assistance to 530,000 drought affected Somalis between January and December.

The charity said the funds will be used to provide assistance to people in Puntland, Somaliland, South West State and Jubaland amid looming famine which threatens child survival in the Horn of Africa nation.

“The landscape in Somalia is littered with animal carcasses. We must save the children, who will surely follow if we do not provide food, water, and health and nutrition assistance now,” Simon Nyabwengi, National Director, World Vision Somalia Programme said in a statement.

The charity warned that lives of hundreds of thousands of Somali children are at stake as millions of people continue to grapple with the threat of renewed famine that has put at risk the fragile recovery efforts and gains made in Somalia since the 2011 famine.

Nyabwengi said acute malnutrition has worsened and remains high in many parts of Somalia due to the prolonged drought.

“Everyone in the humanitarian sector is on high alert and we don’t want to see children dying again. Humanitarian organizations have become better at predicting such disasters and there is a looming crisis at hand, with heart rending consequences for children and their families and we must act now to prevent deaths,” he said.

The statement comes after the humanitarian community in Somalia launched Tuesday an 864 million U.S. dollars appeal to reach 3.9 million people with urgent life-saving assistance.

The Humanitarian Response Plan for Somalia for 2017 comes against a backdrop of deteriorating humanitarian situation in the country: expanding drought conditions have left thousands of Somalis facing severe food and water shortages.

Overall, some 5 million people are in need of relief and about 3.3 million people lack access to emergency health services and require improved access to water, sanitation and hygiene.

The plight of children is particularly worrying with about 320,000 children under the age of five years acutely malnourished and in need of urgent nutrition support. Of these, 50,000 children are severely malnourished and far more vulnerable than any other group.

Deepening drought followed by episodes of continued insecurity; influxes of refugee-returnees; and persistent internal displacement have led to increased food insecurity.

“This is likely to trigger disease outbreaks and already stretched fragile basic services to the breaking point,” the World Vision said.

Nyabwengi said these children and their families need immediate life-saving assistance to have access to food, water, medicine and other basic services essential for their survival.

“A scale up of humanitarian response is urgently required to prevent further deterioration of the situation. If this continues at the current levels, then the number of people who will be in crisis or emergency is likely to increase, potentially at a drastic scale,” he said. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/NewsGhana.com.gh

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