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Urgent action needed as Somalia faces the threat of famine

The UN has warned that without further action, areas of Somalia would enter a state of famine before the end of this year. Pushed to the brink by the unprecedented failure of four consecutive rainy seasons, and already weakened by decades of conflict, Somalia is in crisis – and its children are some of the most vulnerable.

Two-year-old Bashir* had recently returned to his home village, after living for a few months at an internally-displaced peoples (IDP) settlement. Like hundreds of thousands of others, the severe drought had forced Bashir and his family to leave their homes and seek refuge and assistance at an IDP camp.

Soon after returning home, Sahara*, a volunteer with Tearfund’s partner Medair, met Bashir during a routine home visit. Prompted by training she had received as a Care Group health volunteer, Sahara recognised that Bashir was severely malnourished, and immediately linked him to the local health facility, where he was quickly referred for hospitalisation and treatment.

While in hospital, Medair visited Bashir and other children admitted for life-saving treatment, and Bashir’s grandmother expressed how much the support they received meant. Within a week, Bashir had recovered and was able to return home.

“You have saved the life of my little grandson and many other children in the IDP camp,” Bashir’s grandmother said, adding that she is happy with the good work being done by Medair in the community at this vulnerable time.

Bashir’s story illustrates the vital significance of Medair’s community-based work, in detecting and treating the people most vulnerable to the impacts of the hunger crisis. Trained volunteers like Sahara create strong links with health facilities and mean that community members are cared for and followed up.

Severe drought and food insecurity in Somaliland
Severe drought and food insecurity have triggered a hunger crisis that is devastating Somalia and neighbouring regions, including Somaliland (pictured). Image: Tearfund Germany

Right now, as the hunger crisis devastates Somalia and beyond, the lives of almost 8 million children under 5 are under threat unless they receive immediate therapeutic care and treatment like Bashir did.

Your support means that Tearfund’s partners can provide life-saving health and nutrition care for children at risk of malnutrition.

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* Names have been changed for security.


Related projects have received support from the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP).