Horn Of Africa Summary

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Mia Farrow in Dadaab, Kenya: 'Something huge is ha...

Horn Of Africa

After many months of severe drought, many in the Horn of Africa have had to walk for days and weeks without food or water. Many have not survived, and those who have, receive immediate attention at camps set up for assistance. More than 900 children have showed severe cases of diarrhea and vomiting. “The children arrive severely dehydrated,” says Dr. Abdulla Abukar. Usually theis comes from malnutrition and sever dehydration. “First we hydrate intravenously or with oral re-hydration salts, then we administer antibiotics and parasitic drugs.” Said Abdulla Abkar. UNICEF is taking action in teaching people how to sanitize water. Mr Abdi stated: “We are teaching people how to chlorinate water, use latrines and clean up the area around their temporary shelters,” People have to rely on shallow wells. As the wells are built in the ground, very often they become ridden with disease. The future looks positive; action is being taken, as chlorine supplies are being distributed. With groups such as SOPHDA, Millions of people have been helped.

Today, there are over, 155 IDPs schools, since last year September in Mogadishu. In, October 37,000 students have been given the chance for education, despite being malnourished, sick and victim to the drought that has displace many and killed thousands. Schools lack resources, sharing what is needed, but children intent on learning, sit on the floor eager to see what can be taught to them. Although many arrive, unable to walk, and in desperate need of medical attention, with the help of UNICEF and other organizations, the children are eager to start school. Lisa Doherty, pointed out that many schools, have had to close because of the droughts. However, despite this, UNICEF make a concerted effort to keep learning facilities open. “In some cases there have been massive influxes of communities and school-aged children into urban areas where there aren’t school facilities to absorb them all, ”Says, Lisa Doherty. Doherty, continues to explain: “We will have to install additional learning spaces in schools where they will have to absorb additional children, and we will have to recruit and train teachers probably very quickly to fill the gaps.”

Whilst thousands are getting opportunity to be schooled, a further 1.8 million of children aged between 5 and 17 are not getting the opportunity to an education. This is what makes, the learning camps so important. Lisa Doherty, continues to explain, Somalia had one of the lowest enrollment rates in the world with less than 30 per cent of children attending primary school before the crisis,”. She continues to explain, “We’re anticipating even worse figures as schools try to re-open in September. But if we activate our emergency response, we can make a huge difference.” Schooling holds a precious position in the Horn of Africa. At school, or the learning centers, children can find safety, attention, and food. Most of all, children get a chance at creating a secure future.

In the words of Mark Bowden, humanitarian coordinator for the United Nations, said, “Every day of delay in assistance is literally a matter of life or death.” This is in fact true, with people dying within minutes of each-other, and aid struggling to get there on time. When there is enough supplies to help- and right now, it seems as though Somalia is in desperate need for people to donate what they can. As response to the emergency, aid is now being airlifted to Somalia, to over come national political barriers. An estimated $1.6 Billion is still needed to help. Mothers and Children are seen walking hundreds of miles in blistering heat, sometimes days and weeks without food. Many children do not make it. The UNHCR are still pledging or more funding, as they have only received 45% of the total amount needed. Many believe that a portion of this can be made through private donations. The question is, are the youth willing to fund-raise for this cause? “There has been a catastrophic breakdown of the world’s collective responsibility,” Spoke Fran Equiza, Director, Oxfam. “The warning signs have been seen for months, and the world has been slow to act.” Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban-Ki-Moon stated “the United Nations has been sounding the alert for months.”

As thousand of children have died in Somalia and other countries in the Horn of Africa, the schools in Kenya, provide life saving support. Their lunchtime meals, are often the only meals these children receive. Schools would traditionally close in the month of August, but authorities are pledging for the schools to stay open, as for many this is their only lifeline today. Currently 3.5 Million children in Kenya are in desperate need of food. Victor Kiyo, National director of Child fund, Says, "In a crisis like this, schools are needed desperately. But it seems that rather they are, "teetering on the brink of closure, due to the lack of resources." Disease is spreading fast in the camps and the children who still make it there alive are suffering from severe malnutrition. Ibrahim Conteh, UNICEF Dadaab Emergency Coordinator said that “Malnutrition can weaken a child’s immune system, increasing their susceptibility to infectious diseases like measles and polio,” “We are acting now because these diseases can spread very quickly in overcrowded conditions like we have now in the camps.” Clearly the need for a safe, sanitary space for the children is important, just as important as nutrition itself. The United Nations have been supplying the region with water, sanitation, child protection, hygiene and nutrition as far as possible. UNICEF has reached more than 2000 children with child friendly spaces over the past few weeks. Will the rest of world, be helping to encourage and support the brave and important work of UNICEF?

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