Children in IDP camps in Somalia hardest hit by food crisis

NAIROBI, Sept. 23 (Xinhua) — The United Nations announced this week that five million Somalis do not have enough food, with 1.1 million of these being internally displaced persons (IDPs) who are housed in various camps across the country.

It also reveals that the 5 million people include over 300,000 children under five who are acutely malnourished, and among them, more than 50,000 are severely malnourished.

Doctor Lul Mohamud Mohamed, who is a medical practitioner in the largest public hospital in Somalia, Banaadir Hospital, warned that the situation is getting worse for children who live in IDP camp.

Mohamed noted that the impact of the food crisis is seriously impeding the growth and development of children while at the same time denying them the chance to education.

“We are recording deaths and serious medical conditions as a result of malnutrition among children from displaced people’s camps. For example, out of 600 children the hospital receives monthly, 25 percent of these are malnourished,” Mohamed told Xinhua Thursday.

She said most of the children under the age of five are mostly affected, noting there was urgent need to protect the children from long-term conditions which could affect them much more in life.

Mohamed, who heads the children’s department at the hospital, said lack of food denies most children access to education since most of them have to look for food at the expense of education.

A large number of children in the IDP camps do not attend school and are forced to work alongside their parents, a development which risks the lives of the children more, Mohamed added.

Maryam Kusow, a mother of five in one of the camps in Mogadishu, told Xinhua that the risk of her children facing medical conditions which can affect them into adulthood is worrying.

“My husband died three years ago while working as a porter in a bomb explosion. I am forced to bring up my children on my own. We used to receive sufficient food rations from aid agencies in the past, but now I am afraid my children are developing some medical conditions because of malnutrition,” said Kusow.

The story is the same for Amina Abukar who lives with her nine children in a makeshift camp in Mogadishu.

“We depend on my daughter who works as a house maid in the city. My children do not go to school as I cannot afford to pay for their school fees,” said the mother.

This article was published in the XINHUA

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