An upcoming “infant mortality explosion” in the Horn of Africa

Geneva, June 7, 2022 – I am here to tell you today, with all sincerity, that if the world does not look beyond the war in Ukraine and act immediately, there is going to be an explosion in the number of child deaths in the Horn of Africa.

Severe acute malnutrition

Presumably, 386,000 Somali children now need treatment for severe acute malnutrition Which threatens their lives. This number exceeds the figure of 340 000 That children needed treatment during famine 2011.

The number of children suffering from such malnutrition – the most severe – has increased by more than 15% in five months.

In Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, more than 1.7 million children are in urgent need of treatment for severe acute malnutrition.

In the last two years, four rainy seasons have failed, crops and livestock have died and water sources have dried up. The forecast indicates that subsequent rainfall from October to December is also likely to be insufficient.

In the first quarter of 2022, In all three countries, more severely malnourished children were admitted for treatment than in the first trimester. 2021 :

  • In Ethiopia, the enrollment has increased to 26 %
  • In Somalia, admissions have increased to 48 %
  • In Kenya, admissions have increased to 61 %

Mortality is also a concern. This year, compared to the previous year, in some of the worst-hit areas of the Horn of Africa, three times as many children have already died of severe malnutrition. Accompanied by medical complicationsAt the Inpatient Medical Center.


Between February and May, Without reliable access to safe and clean water, the number of households has almost doubledFrom 5.6 10.5 million Millions

War in Ukraine

The war in Ukraine also endangered the lives of children in the Horn of Africa. Somalia alone imported 92 % Its wheat is imported from Russia and Ukraine, but supply routes are now blocked. War raises global food and fuel pricesWhich means that Many people in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia can no longer afford basic food They need to survive.

These pressures also affect our response. The cost of life-saving therapeutic food used by UNICEF to treat severely malnourished children is expected to increase 16% worldwide in the next six months.Which means UNICEF will need 12 Millions more dollars than the Horn of Africa forecast alone.


UNICEF and other agencies have repeatedly warned of the crisis. We sincerely thank the donors who have contributed – it is their support that has enabled us to respond so far. But Our appeal is still largely less meaningless; We now have less than a third of what we need this year.

The international community Led by the G7 which will meet in Germany in June Extra funding is now needed to save lives. The focus on Ukraine should not be directed towards neglecting other crises And, in the end, more lives will be lost.

We want G7 leaders to be committed to acting quickly in future emergencies and to invest in long-term resilience activities such as nutrition, water, education and relocation. Somali children are currently at the forefront of the climate crisis A phenomenon that is not going to fade We need a meaningful change from the donor community to help families cope with the effects of this cyclone.

If you allow me, I would like to end by telling you the story of the impending catastrophe of these two children.

I just returned from Somalia. At a health center in the border town of Dolo, I met Ismail and his one-year-old twin children – Salman and Lebanon. She is pregnant, but the devastating effects of the drought have forced her to make 120 trips Treatment of malnutrition in boys walking km.

Many children cannot do this far. I have heard that children are buried on the side of the road because their families are long desperate for help.

And We fear that the worst has not yet come.


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