Partner Update: Save the Children—Stepping Up for Children on the Brink of Famine


March 9, 2017

Meet Basra*. She’s four and lives in an informal camp the heart of Somalia. Basra was forced to flee her home with her mom and siblings when severe drought stuck their region. Unfortunately, they are not alone.  

Somalia is facing the worst drought it’s seen since the 1950’s. This means tens of thousands of families like Basra’s have been forced to migrate in search of basic needs like food and water. In some of the hardest hit areas, people go days without food, and children are especially impacted. Save the Children estimates that nearly 3 million children are in need of lifesaving assistance across Somaliland, Puntland and South Central Somalia. Here are just some of the reasons why:

  • 363,000 children are suffering from malnutrition
  • 71,000 children face the most life-threatening form of hunger
  • More than 50,000 children face death from starvation

Save the Children warns that Somalia is reaching a “tipping point,” and that famine isn’t far off. Back in 2011, famine claimed the lives of 260,000 people in Somalia. Save the Children is taking action now to ensure that history doesn’t repeat itself.

Famine in Somalia: Four-year-old Basra* fled her home with her mom and siblings in search of fertile ground, and have ended up in an informal camp in Bohol-Olodley. Photo Credit: Tom Arup/Save the Children

Photo credit: Tom Arup/Save the Children

While the situation for children and families is devastating, there is hope. Save the Children is providing some of Somalia’s hardest hit areas with needed support, like clean water, food vouchers and cash transfers.

They are also providing health and nutrition services for children, like malnutrition screenings, feeding programs and specialized care for malnourishment.  This work is instrumental in the relief effort and is helping to stabilize families in the region.

There is still time to save countless lives, but only if the international community acts now to step up funding.” Pete Walsh, Save the Children’s Country Director in South Sudan

Save the Children is calling for action from donors, governments and others to help them continue this important work in Somalia and throughout the horn of Africa. Their work doesn’t end when famine does. By helping children and families in times of crisis, they are building a foundation to help put them on a path to a brighter, more sustainable future.

*Names changed to protect identity.

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