Somalia: Unicef Says Somali Children Face Acute Malnourishment After Floods

More than 1.25 million children are likely to be acutely malnourished this year following heavy floods in Somalia, U.N. said on Friday.

Torrential and floods splashed by River Jubba and Shabelle had displaced 500,000 people in several regions including Gedo, Hiiraan, Middle Shabelle regions as well as regions in far north of the country.

The UN Children's Agency (UNICEF) spokesperson, Christophe Boulierac told reporters at UN Headquarters during a regular briefing that flooding since April is being blamed.

He said the agency reported about half of the children under five years old, or "more than 1.25 million are expected to be acutely malnourished this year.

The agency said the number includes up to 232,000 children who will suffer severe acute malnutrition, which requires specialized lifesaving care.

"The rains spread diseases that are particularly deadly for malnourished children with exhausted, fragile immune systems," said Christophe Boulierac, UNICEF spokesman in Geneva.

"The flooding has damaged water points, sanitation facilities and other critical infrastructure, and 22 nutrition centres treating over 6,000 acutely malnourished children in areas hosting Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) have had to shut down," he said.

Boulierac said short-term UNICEF funding is running out, and "it will hurt water, health and nutrition services."

UNICEF has received 24.3 million U.S. dollars this year of its 154.9 million dollar appeal which, along with funds carried over, leaves a gap of 110.3 million dollars, or 71 per cent, he said.

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