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If there were no humanitarian crisis, if there weren’t a crisis in almost every aspect of life in Gaza there would be no need for the flotilla. 95 percent of all water in Gaza is undrinkable, 40 percent of all disease is water-borne … 45.2 percent of the labor force is unemployed, 80 percent aid dependency, a tripling of the abject poor since the start of the blockade. Let’s get rid of this blockade and there would be no need for a flotilla.
Chris Gunness, the spokesperson for the U.N. Relief and Works Agency ..

10 million displaced Somalis need food aid …

Tens of thousands of Somalis have watched their land dry up after years without rain. Then the livestock died. Finally the food ran out.

Now they are making the perilous journey to refugee camps in Kenya and Ethiopia, also hit hard by drought. The UN expects that at least 10 million people there will need food aid.

A US aid official said yesterday he believed the situation in Ethiopia to be worse than the government acknowledged. It said that 4.5 million people there needed food aid, 40 per cent more than last year. Jason Frasier, mission director of Usaid in Ethiopia, the US government’s aid arm, suggested that might be an under-assessment of the numbers.

Aid agencies are appealing for more than $100m in emergency funding while warning of dire consequences if help does not arrive.

The world’s largest refugee camp, Dadaab, was built to house 90,000 people; more than 382,000 are now here, with people dying every day. Most of those coming to Dadaab are former subsistence farmers whose lands were made unworkable and and animals died after successive seasons without rain in the already war-ravaged country.


Horn of Africa: 60 babies are dying every day ...

Quotes …

Some 60 babies are dying each day in one camp. Every 24 hours, more than 3,000 malnourished people arrive at camps already too crowded to accommodate them. The lives of half a million children are at imminent risk. And, in total, no fewer than 12 million people are fighting for their very survival.

These are the dry, statistical facts of life – and, increasingly, death – in the Horn of Africa this weekend. Behind them are uncountable numbers of human trials and tragedies: Somali children arriving at refugee camps so weak that they are dying within a day, despite receiving emergency care and food; the tens of thousands a week, like Somalian Hawo Ibrahim and her seven children, who trekked for 15 days before reaching a refugee camp in Kenya; and the mothers and children who get lost or die along the way in the 50-degree heat.”

…”At Dadaab camp in eastern Kenya, now the largest refugee centre in the world, some 382,000 people are crammed into a facility designed for 90,000. Around 1,400 more desperate people, most of them children, turn up every day. At Ethiopia’s camps, each day brings 1,700 new arrivals. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and Ethiopia have set up a cluster of camps at Dolo Ado to accommodate the influx of refugees. The cluster of crowded camps scattered around the town now shelters almost 100,000 people, and the UN is frantically building more centres for another 120,000.

"This," said Antonio Guterres, the head of UNHCR, during a trip to the area on Wednesday, "is the worst humanitarian disaster we are facing in the world.

Word of the desperate conditions has spread back to Somalia, a quarter of whose 7.5 million people are now either internally displaced or living outside the country as refugees, according to the UN. Even the country’s top militant group is now asking the aid agencies it once banned from its territories to return. And now, according to a BBC report yesterday, impromptu camps are forming, with the numbers there doubling within days and some holding more than 5,000 people. There are medicines here, but, as yet, no food. The inhabitants wait and hope.”…

"Southern Sudan, the world’s newest country, has also been hit by the food crisis. It can ill afford to be. Children make up nearly half the population, and one in nine die before the age of five. For a population of around eight million, there are only 100 trained midwives, and fewer than 500 doctors."

A trio of the UK’s biggest charities launched a fresh appeal over the worsening situation in the horn of Africa yesterday, with Oxfam describing the food shortages as the worst so far this century.

Oxfam, Save the Children and the Red Cross all asked the public for funds to help get food and clean water to people in Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia and Djibouti. It is thought that 12 million people in the region are facing the possibility of starvation and that many have already left their homes to head to areas with more plentiful resources. None of the charities are ruling out the prospect that the situation could result in a full scale famine, displacing millions from agricultural lands, with Save the Children saying that malnutrition rates had reached 30 per cent in some areas of Somalia.

"This is the worst food crisis of the 21st Century and we are seriously concerned that large numbers of lives could soon be lost," said Jane Cocking, Oxfam’s Humanitarian Director. The charity’s request for £50m, its largest ever appeal for Africa, followed the start of a campaign by the British Red Cross, which blamed crippling food prices for one of the reasons for the draught.

Barry Armstrong, British Red Cross’ disaster response manager, said: “Because of the drought we’re seeing crop failures and widespread deaths of livestock, and, coupled with increasing food prices, people simply aren’t able to get enough to eat.”

Alistair Dawber - 12 Million Facing Starvation in Africa ….


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