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The European Commission gives 4.5 million Euros to reduce Somali child deaths from malnutrition
Press release
Friday, July 12, 2013

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The European Commission has donated 4.5 million Euros (5.8 million dollars) to UNICEF Somalia to help save the lives of children in Somalia at risk from malnutrition and diarrhea.

The grant from the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) will help reduce the number of severely malnourished children who die through improved treatment, food security and preparedness.

Somalia has one of the highest rates of child mortality in the world with nearly one in five children dying before their fifth birthday. Undernutrition is a key factor in many of the deaths.

The contribution will provide Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) for approximately 16,000 children under the age of five who are suffering from severe acute malnutrition.

It will also be used to help run the outpatient therapeutic programmes, which closely monitor malnourished children, weigh and measure them and provide them with RUTF and medicines if needed while allowing them to be treated at home as well as the Stabilization Centres where children are admitted for inpatient treatment.

Responding to the established links between malnutrition and diarrhea disease related to poor water, sanitation and hygiene conditions, the ECHO funds will also be used to strengthen preparedness and coordination for control of diarrheal disease. The women and children going to nutrition facilities will also benefit from supplies for water treatment and hygiene as well as sanitation and hygiene education.

In addition, 9,000 children will benefit from emergency cash transfers or food vouchers that will be distributed each month to the most vulnerable households.

“The early identification and treatment of severe acute malnutrition means that children can be treated at home which benefits the whole family,” said the UNICEF Somalia Representative, Sikander Khan. “We are most grateful to ECHO for this generous support.”

"ECHO funding in this instance is unique as it combines using lifesaving treatment for severely malnourished children along with cash and/or voucher transfers to the most vulnerable families. Without such assistance these children would most likely die. It also helps to build up their resilience to the next nutritional crisis in Somalia which at this point looks inevitable," said Morten Petersen, ECHO Technical Assistant in Somalia.

A total of 215 000 (14.3% of 1.5 million children aged below 5 years) in Somalia are acutely malnourished (two thirds of this number are in South Somalia).

Out of these 45 000 (3.0% of 1.5 million children aged below 5 years) are severely malnourished on any single day. It is estimated there will be 135,000 severely malnourished children over the course of this year and UNICEF Somalia aims to admit 120,000 of them in its centres.


UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org

About the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO)

The European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) funds relief operations for victims of natural disasters and conflicts outside the European Union. Aid is channelled impartially, straight to victims, regardless of their race, ethnic group, religion, gender, age, nationality or political affiliation. ECHO is among UNICEF’s largest humanitarian donors. In 2012 alone, it provided over 70 million Euros for UNICEF’s projects worldwide to support children.

For more information, please contact:

Susannah Price Chief of Communications UNICEF Somalia,
Tel: +254722719867, [email protected]
(See attached file: Press release ECHO donation 9 July 2013.doc)

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