UN: UN official says malnutrition rates high in Somalia

New York, US  (PANA) - The UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, Mr. Philippe Lazzarini, says malnutrition rates are stubbornly high in Somalia with more than 200,000 children requiring emergency nutrition.

In a statement obtained by PANA in New York on Thursday, Mr. Lazzarini, said that about 730,000 Somalis faced acute food insecurity, the vast majority internally displaced people (IDPs), while another 2.3 million people were at risk of sliding into the same situation.

This brings the number of people in need of humanitarian and livelihood support to 3 million, he explained, while reacting to new assessment findings released on Thursday by the Food Security and Analysis Unit, managed by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the Famine Early Warning Systems Network.

He noted that there had been improvements in some parts of the country, but the southern and central regions continued to be the epicentre of the crisis.

According to him the malnutrition affecting early 203,000 malnourished children was mainly due to lack of access to clean water, sanitation infrastructure and better hygiene.

Mr. Lazzarini said about 38,000 children were severely malnourished and needed life-saving medical treatment and therapeutic food.

Lazzarini, however, noted that valuable support from donors had allowed for a timely scale-up of humanitarian emergency response and the worst impact of the crisis had been mitigated, especially in the second half of 2014, but he underscored that available funding was not commensurate to the needs.

In 2015, the Humanitarian Response Plan requests US$863 million to save lives, improve protection of displaced people and provide durable solutions, and strengthen resilience of communities to withstand shocks.

"It is an essential prerequisite to continue to do everything we can to address the current humanitarian needs to prevent the relapse of a major crisis jeopardizing recent historic peace and state building gains," he said.

Meanwhile, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative in Somalia, Mr. Nicholas Kay, has welcomed the Somali government’s announcement to nominate a new Federal cabinet.

Mr. Kay stressed that once approved by the parliament, the Federal Government would need to address Somalia’s state and peacebuilding goals urgently.

He added that the UN was committed to support the process.
-0- PANA AA/MA 30Jan2015

30 january 2015 06:51:56

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