East Africa Famine: SOS Children helping families in their homes in Somalia

Oct 07, 2011 03:45 PM
East Africa Famine: SOS Children helping families in their homes in Somalia

Baidoa, in central Somalia, was declared an official famine area by the UN in September. In the country as a whole, at least 750,000 people are estimated to be at risk of death without urgent intervention. SOS Children are adapting our Emergency Relief operations in the area to help families in the best way we can.

People in the Bay region of Somalia are urgently in need of food and water, as well as health and nutritional services. The area is home to thousands of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) fleeing the famine, who had, until recently, been living in two large refugee camps in the area, which together accommodated approximately 12,000 families. As well as distributing food to over 11,000 people, SOS Children set up a medical centre for the population in the camps, providing care to vulnerable women and children. Since the centre was opened on 25 August, nearly 8,000 people (43% of these under five years old), have received treatment at our clinics.

The Baidoa area is controlled by Al Shabab, a group opposing the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia, and during the last month, thousands of children and families who had moved to the refugee camps in search of food were asked to move back to their homes where they had came from. The group says that it is moving people out of camps ahead of the rainy season, so they can prepare to farm and achieve food self-sufficiency. On their departure, the families were given food packages and promised further assistance when they had settled back into their villages.

With no one left in the camp to treat, the SOS Children Clinic is now closed. In order to continue to help as many people as possible, the SOS Team in Baidoa has been closely monitoring the situation and assessing other ways in which we can reach vulnerable people. Al Shabab have now given permission for SOS Children to move our services to provide for people in need in their home villages.

SOS Children have been working in Somalia since 1985, when the first SOS Children’s Villages was opened in Mogadishu. We will continue to provide both preventative healthcare including vaccinations, as well as treatments for conditions such as chronic malnutrition. We will assist vulnerable families with food packages until they are able to provide for themselves.

How you can help

You can make a one-off donation directly to our Emergency Relief Programme in Somalia, or take out a child sponsorship to help us to focus on the long-term welfare of children who have no one to care for them as a result of the famine.

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