accessibility & help

Somalia: Red Cross providing emergency relief for over a million people

4 August 2011

As the UN declares that famine has spread in Somalia, the Red Cross is scaling up its emergency relief operation and appealing for more funds.

Earlier this week, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and Somali Red Crescent finished a massive food distribution to 162,000 people in drought- and conflict-affected areas of Somalia. They are now scaling up their operation in central and southern Somalia to help an additional 1.1 million people.

The British Red Cross’ East Africa Food Crisis Appeal is raising money to support emergency food relief across the region, including in Somalia.

Giving for Somalia

The British Red Cross has given £1.25 million to the ICRC for food aid, such as cereals, pulses, vegetable oil, corn soya blend and Plumpy’nut (a blend of peanut butter, powdered milk, sugar and vegetable oil fortified with vitamins and minerals for malnourished children).

Through the ICRC and the Somali Red Crescent, aid bought by the British Red Cross is able to reach areas of Somalia that remain off-limits to many other agencies.

The Band Aid Charitable Trust today gave £300,000 to support the Red Cross’ emergency relief operation in central and southern Somalia.

Desperate situation

A displaced pastoralist boy sits with his grandmotherJakob Kellenberger, ICRC president, said: "The situation is becoming ever more desperate. Hundreds of thousands of Somalis face life-threatening food and water shortages."

The famine is the result of 20 years of armed conflict compounded by severe drought. Previous dry spells, high inflation, and the worldwide rise in food and fuel prices have further aggravated the long-standing crisis since the beginning of the year.

"In the central and southern parts of the country especially, where only a small number of humanitarian organisations are present on the ground, the need for aid cannot be overstated," said Mr Kellenberger. "Despite the difficulty of operating in one of the most conflict-riven countries in the world, we cannot let people down. We are confident that we can deliver assistance successfully, in close co-operation with our partners from the Somali Red Crescent."

Funding needed

The ICRC is active in all provinces of central and southern Somalia, and able to carry out large-scale distributions. But more funding is needed to help the ICRC expand its therapeutic feeding programmes and food distributions, which are desperately needed to help people survive until the next harvest in December. Some 49,000 malnourished children and 24,000 pregnant and lactating women will benefit from the supplementary and therapeutic feeding programmes.

The ICRC and the Somali Red Crescent have already started to expand services in their outpatient therapeutic feeding centres and health-care facilities. In central and southern Somalia, the ICRC has provided over 250,000 people with household essentials and made clean water available for 400,000 people since April.

Read about our East Africa Food Crisis Appeal

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