PRESS RELEASE FROM SAVE THE CHILDREN UK
As G20 leaders meet in Romefor an emergency summit to address the East Africa food crisis, Save theChildren is warning that the number of malnourished children in 14 of itsfeeding centres in camps in Puntland, northern Somalia has doubled from 3,500to 6,000 in just two weeks.
The number of acutely malnourished children - and those who will die withoutemergency assistance - has also doubled, rising from 300 children to 600 in thelast two weeks at the charity's clinics in Puntland.
Save the Children and other aid agencies have launched a massive emergencyresponse to help ten million people affected by what the UN has declared EastAfrica's worst drought in 60 years. But the charity is warning that if worldleaders at today's emergency meeting fail to plug a one billion dollar fundingshortfall for the East Africa aid effort, over a million children could die inSomalia alone.
The emergency summit, called at the request of the French Presidency, isdesigned to mobilise international support for the life-saving response acrossKenya, Ethiopia and Somalia. However despite organising the meeting the Frenchgovernment has donated just $2.6 million to the aid effort, lagging far behindthe UK Government's recent $85 million donation. Italy - the host of today'ssummit and Europe's fourth largest economy- has contributed a mere $900,000.
Sonia Zambakides, Emergency Programme Manager for Somalia said:
“Children across East Africa are dying every day, and the world cannot stand byand watch. We know that with enough funds and political will we can turn thatcrisis around. Today's meeting cannot simply be about talking - we needconcerted action. World leaders must urgently step up and pledge their cash sowe can save more children's lives.”
In the past two weeks, Save the Children's Puntland based feeding centres havebeen overwhelmed as families flee the effects of the drought in South CentralSomalia region in search of food and water.
Sonia Zambakides, said:
“Outside the camps in Puntland there is no water, no food and animals havealready died. We need to scale up and send teams out to get life saving help tochildren in remote, rural areas but we need more funding to do so. Without itwill can only provide help in the camps. ”
Despite a very generous response from the public – donating USD $57 million to the charities appeal – the aid effortin East Africa is massively underfunded. Just 9% of emergency health work isfunded in Kenya whilst nutrition has received just 12% of the money it needs tosave lives. In Somalia just 37% of nutrition work has been funded.
Throughout the disaster Save the Children has been delivering life savingsupport across Kenya, Somali and Ethiopia and has scaled up its programme toprovide food, water, medicine and child protection. Its appealing for $100million for it work across the region.
To donate to Save the Children's appeal go to www.savethechildren.org.uk or call+44 20 7012 6400
For more information please contact the Save the Children Media Team on07831 650409 and 0207 012 6841.
Rachel Palmer is available for interview from Puntland and Sonia Zambakidesfrom Nairobi.
Save the Children, London UK
Tel: ++44 0207 012 6841
Mobile ++ 44 07790 477412