GENEVA / UNICEF SOMALIA DROUGHT

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15-Feb-2022 00:02:56
As Somalia is suffering from one of its worst droughts in recent times, UNICEF warned today that 1.4 million children – nearly half of the country’s under five population - are likely to suffer from acute malnutrition out of which 330,000 children will require treatment for severe acute malnutrition. UNTV CH

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STORY: GENEVA / UNICEF SOMALIA DROUGHT
TRT: 2:56
SOURCE: UNTV CH
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 15 FEBRUARY 2022, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

SHOTLIST:

FILE – GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

1. Wide shot, Palias des Nations exterior

15 FEBRUARY 2022, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

2. Wide shot, press room
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Victor Chinyama, Chief of Communication in Somalia, United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF):
“The time to act is now. And when the international community waits until a famine is declared, as we learned from 2011, that's probably a bit too late. A lot of the mortality happens before the famine is declared. And, of course, we know that when you begin to see malnutrition go up and then that is compounded by an outbreak such as measles or cholera, mortality very, very quickly escalates.”
4. Med shot, masked participants listening
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Victor Chinyama, Chief of Communication in Somalia, United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF):
“Somalia is the most affected with about 90 percent of the country undergoing a severe drought. And data that was released last week shows that about 4.1 million people in Somalia will need urgent humanitarian support and that is a quarter of the entire population of 16 million.”
6. Close up, fingers typing at the keyboard of laptop
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Victor Chinyama, Chief of Communication in Somalia, United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF):
“1.4 million children are likely to suffer from acute malnutrition and of those about 330,000 require treatment for severe acute malnutrition.”
8. Med shot, masked participants listening
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Victor Chinyama, Chief of Communication in Somalia, United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF):
“We know that the lack of water also gives rise to other risks, particularly of diseases outbreaks. And we have a measles outbreak in Baidoa. But also, measles has been reported among Somali refugees that are living in Ethiopia. So, this year, for example, we're looking at 7,500 reported cases of measles.”
10. Wide shot, press room
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Victor Chinyama, Chief of Communication in Somalia, United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF):
“We know that when people flee their homes from the 2011 and 2017 drought, they're the most vulnerable. Certainly, the highest numbers of deaths were recorded among people that had been displaced and had moved to other areas in search of humanitarian assistance.”
12. Med shot, masked participants listening with TV screen in the rear
13. SOUNDBITE (English) Victor Chinyama, Chief of Communication in Somalia, United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF):
“The one issue that worries us in terms of the risks that children are exposed to such as sexual violence, exploitation, gender-based violence. And in the context of Somalia, we cannot talk about displacement risks without addressing the spectre of children being abducted and recruited by armed groups, for example, such as Al-Shabaab.”
14. Med shot, camera with TV screen
15. Close up, participant taking notes
16. Close up, laptops

STORYLINE:

As Somalia is suffering from one of its worst droughts in recent times, UNICEF warned today that 1.4 million children – nearly half of the country’s under five population - are likely to suffer from acute malnutrition out of which 330,000 children will require treatment for severe acute malnutrition.

Addressing reporters in Geneva today (15 Feb), UNICEF's Communication Chief in Somalia Victor Chinyama said funding is immediately needed to procure nutrition supplies and avert deaths.

He said, “The time to act is now. And when the international community waits until a famine is declared, as we learned from 2011, that's probably a bit too late. A lot of the mortality happens before the famine is declared. And, of course, we know that when you begin to see malnutrition go up and then that is compounded by an outbreak such as measles or cholera, mortality very, very quickly escalates.”

The Horn of Africa - Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia - is currently experiencing its worst droughts in recent history after three consecutive seasons of failed rains and with potentially facing a fourth one between March-May 2022.

According to UNICEF’s Victor Chinyama, “Somalia is the most affected with about 90 percent of the country undergoing a severe drought. And data that was released last week shows that about 4.1 million people in Somalia will need urgent humanitarian support and that is a quarter of the entire population of 16 million.”

He added that “1.4 million children are likely to suffer from acute malnutrition and of those about 330,000 require treatment for severe acute malnutrition.”

A critical shortage of water has left 2.6 million people in need of urgent water supply with water prices having gone up by 72 percent. A lack of water heightens disease outbreaks, such as measles and cholera.

UNICEF’s Communication chief in Somalia said, “We know that the lack of water also gives rise to other risks, particularly of diseases outbreaks. And we have a measles outbreak in Baidoa. But also, measles has been reported among Somali refugees that are living in Ethiopia. So, this year, for example, we're looking at 7,500 reported cases of measles.”

The risk of a severely wasted child dying from measles is 11 times higher than for a well-nourished child. So, spikes in diseases such as cholera and measles are clear danger signs for children.

In order to survive, UNICEF said families are taking desperate measures. Since November, about 500,000 people have been displaced in search of food, water and pasture, adding to the 2.9 million already internally displaced.

“We know that when people flee their homes from the 2011 and 2017 drought, they're the most vulnerable. Certainly, the highest numbers of deaths were recorded among people that had been displaced and had moved to other areas in search of humanitarian assistance,” reported Victor Chinyama.

As drought exacerbates protection risks for children, UNICEF said it was worried about sexual exploitation and abuse as well as child marriage. In 2021, 1,200 children, including 45 girls, were recruited and used by armed groups, 1,000 children were abducted.

Chinyama said, “The one issue that worries us in terms of the risks that children are exposed to such as sexual violence, exploitation, gender-based violence. And in the context of Somalia, we cannot talk about displacement risks without addressing the spectre of children being abducted and recruited by armed groups, for example, such as Al-Shabaab.”

UNICEF appealed for 48 million USD and urgently needs seven million USD by the end of March 2022 to procure 104,000 cartons of Ready-to-Use Therapeutics Foods for the treatment of children with severe acute malnutrition.
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