Large Scale Emergency Response Launched Amid Heartbreaking Famine in Somalia

As Millions Face Starvation and Disease, Lifesaving Shipments of Nutritional Supplements and Medicines Underway

Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Omar Faruk, www.Alertnet.org
Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Omar Faruk, www.Alertnet.org

AmeriCares has launched a large-scale emergency response in Somalia, including several shipments of medicines, nutritional supplements, water purification tablets and medical supplies to help save as many lives as possible in this beleaguered region of Africa.

Our prolonged famine response includes shipments of urgently requested aid to help families struggling to survive, particularly babies, young children, pregnant and breastfeeding women who are especially at risk. U.N. officials estimate that tens of thousands have already died and more than a half million children are on the brink of starvation. More than 100,000 have fled their homes, pouring into makeshift camps in Mogadishu as well as to overwhelmed camps on the borders of Kenya and Ethiopia, which have become a breeding ground for cholera and other diseases.

As the crisis worsens, the need is great. Help AmeriCares reduce human suffering and save lives in Somalia, Kenya, and Ethiopia.

Immediate Response

As news of the crisis unfolded, a rush shipment of emergency aid was delivered to Mogadishu in early August, supplying emergency medical aid to clinics and mobile teams to treat 15,000 sick and malnourished children and adults.  

“One out of every three people in Somalia suffers from acute malnutrition, which weakens immune systems and increases risk of disease,” said AmeriCares SVP of Global Programs Christoph Gorder. “Our deliveries of antibiotics, nutritional supplements and basic medicines and supplies will help save countless lives.”

Ongoing Disaster Relief Pipeline

A series of shipments now underway includes nutritional supplements, water purification sachets and emergency supplies for the prevention and treatment cholera and acute watery diarrhea:

  • Nutritional Supplements to feed 13,000 for one month: Shipments of nutrient-rich porridge—especially beneficial for children under five, pregnant and breastfeeding women—are scheduled for delivery in August and September to be distributed in Somalia and Kenya for supplemental feeding programs.
  • Water purification sachets to provide clean water for 34,000 people:  Clean water remains a constant challenge in drought-ravaged areas of Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia.  AmeriCares will provide 3.1 million water purifying sachets to be distributed through training programs to replenish water stocks for three camp-based water and sanitation programs in Kenya and for communities suffering famine in southern Ethiopia.  These sachets will produce enough water to benefit 34,000 people for two months.
  • Medicines and supplies to fight cholera: Several cholera outbreaks have been confirmed, with hundreds of deaths already reported across the region. Deliveries of additional medicines and supplies to treat treatment cholera and acute watery diarrhea are now being planned to help a growing number of patients suffering with these life-threatening diseases.

Ongoing Aid

In addition to delivering aid to settlement areas in Somalia, Kenya, and Ethiopia, AmeriCares is helping partners deliver primary health care to drought affected communities so that families do not have to make the perilous journey to refugee camps.

Long-term plans include the possible establishment of a field hospital to treat patients in a new overflow refugee camp near Dadaab in Kenya, and the launch of a measles vaccination program to reduce risk of an epidemic among populations at risk.  

Since 1985, when severe famine claimed one million lives in Ethiopia, AmeriCares has worked to help African men, women and children in crisis. During the height of Rwanda's civil war and violent strife in 1994, AmeriCares set up a field hospital to help children and families in desperate need.  Previous aid to Somalia includes more than $3 million in medicines, nutritional supplements, and vitamins during the height of the drought and war-stricken nation’s food crisis of 2008-09.