UNICEF's James Elder reports on UNICEF's efforts to protect Somali children from the impact of war, famine and disease.
Tags:malnourished children in Somalia,famine in Somalia,food crisis in Somalia,malnutrition in Somalia,unicef,united nations childrens fund
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Malnourished Children in Somalia
James: You are watching UNICEF television. Somalia is in terrible place for its 4 million children without an effective central government since 1991. Two generations have their childhood shattered of war, famine and disease. Today, intensified fighting drought and a nutritional crisis threatened to make 2008 one of the worst ever years for Somalia’s forgotten children. It is an appalling prospect. This week news figure from the United Nations children fund show malnutrition on the rise.
At a hospital in northern Somalia, Doctor Hodan Ahmed is dealing with the human phase behind the new numbers.
Dr. Hodan Ahmed: The most malnourish children came from distant area like Mogadishu. They need help. They are desperately in need of help.
James: Estimates put the number of those who are killed by fighting in famine at one million. But the number didn’t totally displaced girls such as 13-year-old Khadi Abdire has doubled in the last six months.
Khadi Abdire: Life is very, very difficult in this camp. We don’t have proper school or health centers and there's a lot of child labor. School has many benefits. I came here as an illiterate girl, but now I am in school and I hope that in the future, my education will help me getting a good job and a better life.
James: Despite the hardships and threat to those who seek to help Somalia’s children, three aid workers were killed in January. UNICEF continues to reach the most vulnerable. If the dire predictions for Somalia’s children this year are going to be avoided, support is urgently needed. Presently, UNICEF would be unable to maintain any of its 2007 activities. Its appeals for 48 millions dollars for 2008 have yet to raise a single dollar.
Assa Ahmed: We understand that the world is preoccupied with a lot of the problems of Africa including now, Kenya. But we hope that the international community does not forget about the children of Somalia.
James: If funded, UNICEF will continue tackling malnutrition, buying vaccines and giving Somalia’s children the safety of schools. It is all they ask for. This is James Elder reporting for UNICEF television in Northern Somalia. Unite for children.