APPROACH AND METHODOLOGY
Save the Children, with its longstanding presence in the region and experience in large-scale hunger relief in areas hard-hit by the drought, is working diligently to aid children in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia. The objectives of this work are to: 1) save children's lives and alleviate the immediate suffering of children and their families directly affected
by the drought, 2) improve the nutritional status of affected children and their families, 3) protect family livelihoods and food security, and 4) help build the coping capacity and resiliency of families and communities through disaster risk reduction activities. The agency's specific interventions include supplemental feeding and nutrition programs for acutely malnourished children and pregnant and lactating women; general food distributions; feeding programs for Somali refugees; providing clean water through distributions and well and borehole repairs; child protection and education programs for Somali refugee children in camps in Ethiopia and Kenya; emergency health and hygiene activities; and livelihoods interventions including livestock health and asset protection activities that build families' ability to cope with extreme shocks such as this drought.
With extensive knowledge of East Africa, longstanding programs there, on-ground resources and relationships with governments, non-governmental organizations and communities, Save the Children is in a position to save severely malnourished children's lives during this crisis and address the immediate needs of children and their families in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia. In each of the nations, the agency acted on early warnings of the food crisis and its preparedness work meant that it was able to respond far more quickly and effectively than might otherwise have been possible. Save the Children has a six-month immediate relief strategy that is now in place; it focuses on saving children's lives through supplemental feeding and nutrition programs, immediate food and water provision to other affected children and families, feeding Somali refugees and those internally displaced, health and hygiene programs, child protection and education programs in camps of Somali refugees, and livelihood and asset protection activities. Save the Children also has a strategic plan to sustain key elements of this work for the next two years to address root causes of the crisis.
IMPLEMENTATION, TIMELINE, AND DELIVERABLES
Save the Children and other humanitarian agencies first highlighted the potential for this crisis in November 2010, and began responding near the start of 2011. Save the Children scaled up programming throughout early 2011, and in July issued a global call for $100 million in support for an intensive six-month relief phase, to be followed by a two-year effort to address root causes of the crisis. Save the Children is now in the immediate relief phase, and is working in many drought-affected regions in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia and in camps of Somali refugees. It has set a goal of reaching 2 million vulnerable children and adult members of their families: 1 million in Ethiopia, 700,000 in Kenya and 305,000 in Somalia. Response work is being informed by ongoing needs assessments.
Deliverables for July 1, 2011- December 31, 2012 include:
- Large-scale food distributions
- Therapeutic and outpatient feeding for severely malnourished children
- Supplemental feeding for children under age 5, pregnant and lactating women, including Somali refugees and displaced persons within Somalia
- Water trucking and distributions in communities
- Water point rehabilitation and hygiene training
- Child protection and education programs in refugee camps in Ethiopia and Kenya
- Emergency health care
- Livelihood and asset protection for affected families
A humanitarian catastrophe is gripping East Africa, encompassing portions of Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia. Millions of children are hungry, thirsty, and desperate. They are in danger of becoming critically malnourished and, without help, many in the worst-hit areas could die. An estimated 1 million children in Somalia alone are at risk. The 12 million people who are estimated by the UN to be in urgent need of humanitarian assistance stemming from severe drought and food shortages represent a 30 percent increase since the beginning of the year.
In July, the UN issued a famine declaration for south and central Somalia, where it has been estimated that up to 50 percent of children in some regions are acutely malnourished. Across the country, some 3.7 million Somalis are in crisis, with 3.2 million in need of immediate, lifesaving assistance. Tens of thousands of people are believed to have died in the past three months. The situation in Puntland, especially in camps of those internally displaced, is deteriorating. Nearly one of four displaced children in camps in Bosaso is acutely malnourished. Host communities in this region have also seen the deaths of up to 85 percent of livestock in some areas.
In Ethiopia, the government has reported that 4.5 million people will be in need for the rest of this year; of whom over 3.5 million are in the drought- and poor rain-affected areas of Somali, Afar, southern Oromia and the Southern Nations and Nationalities Peoples Regions. Ethiopia has also seen a massive influx of new Somali refugees, requiring the opening of several new camps operated by the Ethiopian Government's Administration for Refugee and Returnee Affairs (ARRA) and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). Some 78,000 Somali children and adults have arrived since the beginning of 2011, and there are now over 118,000 refugees in overcrowded and unsanitary camps. Many Somalis arrive at the Ethiopia border after having walked for weeks through hot, harsh scrubland with little food or water. Extremely high acute malnutrition rates among the newly arrived have been reported by such sources as ARRA, UNHCR and the World Food Program, and death rates are at emergency levels.
An estimated 17,000 Somalis have also crossed into Ethiopia miles to the north of the reception center at Dolo Ado in the past six weeks. They are in dire need of food, water, shelter and medical care, as some are believed to have walked for up to 40 days to reach the border.
In Kenya, the government has declared the ongoing drought in large parts of the country to be a national disaster. Some 3.5 million people require assistance, half of whom are children. In the Mandera District, one in three children is estimated to be severely malnourished and one in three families have lost all their livestock. The July corn harvest was expected to produce a scant 10 to 20 percent of normal yield. As in Ethiopia, Kenya's refugee camps for Somalis fleeing hunger and conflict in their country have been overwhelmed by a surge in recent arrivals - as many as 1,300 Somalis arrive daily at the Dadaab refugee camps in Kenya and 125,000 since the year began. There are now over 400,000 Somali refugees living in the camps.