Quoted: "The crisis is not over" in Horn of Africa
August 30, 2011 By
In Dadaab refugee camp, three out of five children suffer from malnutrition. Once identified, the children are rushed to the IRC's stabilization center, which is part of the IRC-run hospital in Dadaab. Here they receive food and medical care.
Dr. Milhia Kader works at an International Rescue Committee hospital in Dadaab, Kenya, treating refugees who have fled drought and famine in neighboring Somalia. Dr. Kader says that 17% of children arriving in local refugee camps are malnourished. Her unit provides lifesaving care for kids who have severe malnutrition with medical complications. She introduces us to 3-year-old Aden, one of her many young patients who have improved considerably with treatment from the IRC.
Tens of thousands of Somalis are fleeing famine and conflict in southern Somalia to areas of central Somalia that are also suffering severe shortages of food, water and pasture—straining scarce resources and creating tension in drought-affected communities.
IRC teams are aiding tens of thousands of Somali refugees who are pouring into camps in Kenya and Ethiopia—many barely clinging to life. Fellow refugees and local communities are also helping, gathering donations for the new arrivals.
The drought in the Horn and East Africa has been described as the worst in 60 years, with an estimated 12.5 million people facing a severe food crisis and in urgent need of emergency assistance. While the current crisis has attracted international attention, drought has been a chronic problem in the region for much longer, one which the International Rescue Committee has been responding to for over a year.
Once more a catastrophe is unfolding in the Horn of Africa and were transfixed by pictures of haunted faces and distended bellies, of huddles of humanity slumped in the sand, stoically waiting for help.