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200,000 children affected as heavy flooding in Somalia brings increased risk of malnutrition and disease outbreak

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An estimated 200,000 children have been affected by heavy flooding in Belet Weyne, Berdale, Baidoa, Jowhar and Mahadaiin, Somalia. Thousands of families have been forced to leave their homes and locate to higher ground. Living in makeshift camps or worse in the open, many of the displaced are in dire need of clean water, sanitation and hygiene services, safe shelter, health and food supplies. The floods have also destroyed schools and interrupted learning for thousands of children.

“Children are very vulnerable in times of emergency,” said UNICEF Somalia Representative Werner Schultink. “If we do not act decisively, the impact of these floods will be felt in Somalia long after the water levels recede,” he added.

Damaged crops and farms inundated with water will impede access to food. This will exacerbate the previously precarious food situation in the country. Food insecurity, lack of healthcare and access to safe water and sanitation will result in spikes in malnutrition among Somali children and cause a deadly cycle of fast-spreading waterborne diseases.

UNICEF is working closely with local authorities and partners to determine and meet the most urgent needs of children and their families. The organization is dispatching emergency supplies and providing life-saving services through partners on the ground.

  • 33,000 hygiene kits are being distributed to enhance access to safe water and prevent waterborne diseases
  • Supplies will be preemptively dispatched to treat 90,000 people for acute watery diarrhoea
  • Nutrition teams are already on the ground to treat children with severe acute malnutrition
  • Child-friendly spaces will be established to provide 1,300 of the most affected children a space to gather, learn and play safely

“UNICEF and partners will continue to respond to the urgent needs of children and their families affected by the floods providing immediate assistance to mitigate the potentially life-threatening impact of this unfolding situation,” said Schultink.

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