UNICEF sounds alarm over rising child malnutrition, disease in Somalia

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A medical practitioner uses a Mid Upper-Arm Circumference (MUAC) measuring tape on a child indicating Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) at a mobile clinic at a temporary settlement for families forced to move because of drought near the town of Ainabo, Somalia. Photo:UNICEF/Holt

Rates of child malnutrition and disease are rising sharply in Somalia as famine looms in the country, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) said on Thursday.

The agency reports that an increasing number of youngsters are suffering from severe acute malnutrition and cholera or acute watery diarrhoea, a combination that killed many children in a famine six years ago.

Dianne Penn reports.

UNICEF says 35,400 Somali children were treated for severe acute malnutrition in the first two months of the year.

That's a nearly 60 per cent increase over the same period in 2016, according to the agency.

Furthermore, more than 18,400 cases of cholera or acute watery diarrhoea have been reported in Somalia since the start of 2017, the majority among young children.

UNICEF Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa Leila Pakkala described the numbers as "a wake-up call."

UNICEF and its partners are delivering lifesaving supplies in Somalia, working alongside local authorities and communities in the hardest hit areas.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 49″

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