The worst drought in decades is currently sending hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children in the Horn of Africa on a desperate search for food, water, safety, and medical care. Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has found shockingly high rates of malnutrition among Somali refugees seeking assistance in the Dadaab refugee camps in northeastern Kenya.
“I expected to find a difficult situation, but not a catastrophic one,” said Anita Sackl, coordinator of the nutritional assessment for MSF in Dadaab.
More than 1,600 children with severe acute malnutrition are currently receiving treatment in MSF programs, and our teams have been admitting an average of 107 new patients to intensive nutritional care every week at the hospital.
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With the Dadaab camps already badly overcrowded – originally built to hold 90,000 people, they now house 400,000 – many people are forced to seek shelter in the surrounding desert. A combination of extreme heat, lack of water and sanitation, and delays in the registration of new arrivals to the camps – which in turn delays the provision of food rations – have resulted in unimaginable living conditions for people already displaced from their homes.
MSF teams are seeing extremely high malnutrition rates among children aged six months to five years, and an astonishing 43.3 percent of children aged five to 10 are also malnourished. Because of these extreme conditions, we are now including children older than five in our nutritional programs as well. Our teams are admitting more than 700 children each week to our supplementary feeding programs in Dadaab.
Please give generously today. Doctors Without Borders relies on donor support to provide impartial emergency medical assistance in more than 60 countries like Kenya, Somalia, and Ethiopia in the Horn of Africa.
On behalf of our field staff and our patients worldwide, thank you.