By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Somali refugees crowding camps in excess of 3,000 new people daily
The drought and famine in East Africa is being called by many as the worst in a generation. Western nations have stepped up efforts to assist in the thousands of Somali refugees that have flooded camps in Kenya, which has decided to open a fourth outpost.
‘There are many seasoned relief professionals who would tell you we haven’t seen a crisis this bad in a generation,’ Reuben Brigety, the deputy assistant secretary says. Brigety is responsible for state department assistance to refugees and conflict victims in Africa.
“There are many seasoned relief professionals who would tell you we haven’t seen a crisis this bad in a generation,” Reuben Brigety, the deputy assistant secretary says. Brigety is responsible for state department assistance to refugees and conflict victims in Africa. “We anticipate that this crisis will get worse before it gets better.”
The U.S. is looking into how much more it can give in addition to already promised $5 million to help Somali refugees, in addition to a previously budgeted $63 million, Brigety said.
Brigety says that the Levels of malnutrition among refugees arriving at the camps are very high. In addition, he added that the overall mortality rate at the camps in Ethiopia is seven people out of 10,000 per day, when a normal crisis rate is two per day.
Germany says it is donating an additional $7 million in humanitarian aid. Dirk Niebel, the German development minister, declared that “the famine and the humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa are a cause of great worry.”
Duncan Harvey, the acting country director for Save the Children in Ethiopia, said that “in terms of the sheer numbers of people affected, this is one of the worst droughts the world has seen in a long time.”
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has said it had sent by air emergency nutrition supplies and water equipment into Somalia.
A senior United Nations official also warned this past weekend that the plight of millions of people left hungry will only get worse, with the next rains expected in October and harvests months away.
“We are possibly seeing a perfect storm in the coming months . We are going to do everything we can to ameliorate it,” Anthony Lake, the UNICEF director told reporters.
“We are scaling up in every way we can . It is very bad now. There will be no major harvests until some time next year. The next six months are going to be very tough.”
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