In Arabia, Mahad Qasim has already seen his two children starve to death in Somalia for 18 months. As the situation worsens, he is now fighting to save his daughter Ifrah.
In her twenties, the young woman did not waste time when her 2-year-old baby’s body began to swell, a symptom of severe malnutrition. He left his village of Afgui Jido to reach the capital Mogadishu on a one-day drive. At the Bandi Children and Maternity Hospital, she found herself in the same ordeal. Some have walked for days to save their children.
For months, Somalia has been plunged into a severe food crisis, with droughts at an unprecedented scale for at least 40 years and affecting neighboring Ethiopia and Kenya. Humanitarian agencies continue to warn of more real risks of famine in the region The last four rainy seasons since the end of 2020 have been inadequate, and today 7.1 million Somalis, about half of the population, live in starvation, with 213,000 on the brink of starvation, according to the United Nations.
Doctors doing extra work
In recent months, thousands of Somalis – who make a living from livestock and agriculture – have fled their villages after seeing their last resources disappear. “It simply came to our notice then. We lost our cattle. The river has dried up. “Khadija Mohammad Hassan, who brought her 14-month-old son Bilal to the hospital, applied a drip. “I am 45 years old and I have never seen such a devastating drought in my life. We live in the worst of times. “She sighed.
The staff of Bandi Hospital is overflowing. According to Hafsa Mohammad Hassan, a physician, the number of malnourished patients in the hospital’s stabilization center has tripled due to the drought. Some days there are not enough beds to accommodate all the patients in the facility. “The cases we have received include children with complications [causées par la malnutrition], Such as severe measles, and others who are in a coma due to severe malnutrition. “He explains.
For Osman Hossain, a veteran of the NGO Concern Worldwide, which has supported Bandir Hospital since 2017, the situation is getting complicated. “Between January and June, the number of children admitted to Bandi Hospital Stabilization Center for severe malnutrition and other complications increased from 120 to 230 per month.”, He explains. Everyone fears that the next monsoon season, in October and November, will fail again, further weakening this volatile country with its precarious infrastructure.
“We can’t wait.”
Somalia has been facing an Islamic uprising in Chabab for fifteen years, the establishment of which has limited access to humanitarian aid to people in the country’s vast rural areas. Ukraine’s tense war is having a dramatic effect on the lives of Somalis, who have seen food prices skyrocket.
As the world’s attention is drawn to Ukraine, humanitarian organizations are struggling to raise funds. They raised only 18% of the estimated 1.5 1.5 billion (about 1.4 billion euros) to avoid a repeat of the 2011 famine, which killed 260,000 people, half of whom were children under the age of six. “We can’t wait to declare famine.”On Monday, June 13, the director of the World Food Program (WFP) in Somalia, Dr. L-Khidir Dalum.
Newly elected President Hassan Cheikh Mohamud last week visited a camp for displaced people near Baidoa in the southwest of the country. “Anyone who has a plate of food on the table today should think of crying somewhere because of hunger and help them in any way they can.”He called.
At Banadi Hospital, Khadija Mohammad Hassan keeps an eye on her frail Bilal and remains optimistic: “We’ve been here thirteen days, he’s fine now. A
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