The nutritional feeding centre for malnourished children supported by the International Committee of the Red Cross in Baidoa, Somalia has more than twice as many young patients this year as one year ago, underscoring the large food needs in the country.
The humanitarian community must work as fast as it can to help the 6 million people in need in Somalia, including the 360,000 acutely malnourished children
“One look at our nutritional feeding centre shows how high the needs are for Somalia’s children,” Dominik Stillhart, the global director of operations for the ICRC, said after visiting the feeding centre this week. “The good news is that assistance is coming in, but the needs are overwhelming.”
The nutritional feeding centre in Baidoa currently has 230 patients under the age of five. A year ago at this time it had 100 patients. Nationwide, the ICRC and Somali Red Crescent Society have seen an 80 percent increase in the number of malnourished children treated at its stabilization centres and clinics this year compared to last year (12,710 in January-April 2017 vs. 7,086 in January-April 2016).
“The humanitarian community must work as fast as it can to help the 6 million people in need in Somalia, including the 360,000 acutely malnourished children, in a way that assistance reaches those who really need it, wherever they are, and as soon and possible,” said Jordi Raich, the head of delegation for ICRC’s Somalia office.
The humanitarian community cannot repeat the mistakes of Somalia’s 2011 famine, Raich said. A slow and at-times inefficient aid response resulted in too many deaths six years ago. Somalia’s latest hunger crisis, though exacerbated by climate, is still man-made, and too many families are suffering because of it. The humanitarian community at large must efficiently deliver assistance where it is needed most to prevent thousands of avoidable deaths.