UN refugee agency steps up help for people still inside Somalia

malnourished child in Somalia

Assistance to Somalia is being stepped up following the deepening of the crisis there.

The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) is assisting 90,000 people in Mogadishu and in southwest Somalia with a series of aid distributions.

Non-food aid for over 125,000 people is also being handed out in other areas, including the Gedo and Lower Juba regions.

The hope is that this may stop Somalis from crossing borders into neighbouring countries, where refugee camps are bursting at the seams and countless numbers of people are close to death.

Paul Spiegel, a Public Health expert from UNHCR, has just returned from Ethiopia where the number of deaths in one of the refugee camps is of desperate concern.

"The mortality rate in June was extremely high. It was 7.4 deaths per 10,000 people per day. And to put that into perspective, the baseline for sub-Saharan Africa is 0.5. An emergency is generally declared at greater than or equal to one death, so that's 15 times the baseline. The preponderance of deaths are amongst under 5 children."

Duration:  25″

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