Among the scrub and dust of Somalia’s Nugaal region, animals lie dead or dying. Small holes run like tracks along the road, crude cisterns now cracked with heat. Water has all but disappeared in the northern village of Sinujiif, sending families 40 km/25 miles to the nearest source so their children have water for their powdered milk. In the towns, people talk of famine.
Severe drought conditions in Somalia threaten a replay of the famine that just five years ago killed 260,000 people, more than half of them children. And Somalia is not alone. More than 20 million people in four countries — Somalia, South Sudan, Niger and Yemen — face catastrophic food crises. Famine already has been declared in parts of South Sudan. And unless $4.4 billion dollars is put toward the crises immediately, say international aid experts, more than a million children could die of starvation in the next six months.
With the support of our generous donors, Relief International has designated schools in six Somali villages as water distribution hubs to provide drought relief to students and their families. Water, sanitation and hygiene specialists are being sent to identify clean water sources, and our teams are developing broader emergency plans.
“These plans come in a very desperate moment when water is rare and a treasure,” said a community administrator in the village of Godob Jiraan.
In South Sudan, the ravages of drought and conflict have sent 40 percent of the population — nearly 5 million people — careening toward starvation. Without adequate intervention, this number is predicted to rise to 5.5 million by July. In Yemen, where conflict has also bred the food crisis, more than 7 million people — half the population — require immediate, emergency food aid.
RI teams are the only ones battling malnutrition in some of South Sudan’s most remote communities, where they operate a therapeutic feeding program. In Yemen, RI combats severe, chronic malnutrition with food distribution and therapies for malnourished children and mothers. Teams are scaling up their emergency responses in both countries.
A tax-deductible donation to our Humanitarian Response Fund will help provide emergency relief and critical aid to famine-afflicted families and others in crisis in some of the world’s most fragile environments.