Geregistreerd op: 05 Sep 2017
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|MOGADISHU， March 29 (Xinhua) -- Child malnutrition coupled with a spike in diarrhea diseases linked to water scarcity could spin out of control in Somalia as the drought season enters a critical phase， a UN official said in a recent interview with Xinhua.
United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF)'s Chief of Field Office in Central South Somalia Eltayeb Adam noted that Somali children have borne the brunt of malnutrition and water-borne diseases hence making them vulnerable targets of recruitment by armed groups.
"We are expecting the number of children suffering from acute malnutrition to increase from the current figure of 177，000 to 288， 000，" Adam said.
He noted that a cholera outbreak is spreading quickly in drought-hit towns and villages.
The United Nations contended that half of the population in Somalia， 6.2 million people， could face the risk of starvation unless the international community hastens delivery of food aid and other life saving interventions.
Adam said the biting drought has worsened poverty， disease， conflicts and displacement of communities in Somalia.
"The impact of drought in Somalia will be felt longer amid prediction of suppressed rains. The number of people in need of food aid is expected to rise from 3.2 (million) to 4.5 million by April，" said Adam.
He noted that massive crop failure and livestock deaths linked to the current drought have aggravated childhood malnutrition.
The rapid drying of strategic water points in Somalia that has worsened in the current drought season is to blame for disease outbreak， childhood malnutrition， inter-clan tensions and displacement of populations.
Adam regretted that communities living in drought-hit regions are depending on contaminated water sources that expose them to diarrhea diseases.
"Many people are depending on unsafe water sources as the drought season escalates. We have recorded 13，000 cases of Cholera and 300 deaths linked to the disease have also been reported，" Adam told Xinhua.
He noted the price of clean drinking water has quadrupled as Somalia grapples with a severe drought.
Massive investments in water， sanitation and hygiene (WASH) are an imperative in order to contain the Cholera outbreak in Somalia.
Adam revealed that an estimated 3.2 million people in the Horn of African State are in urgent need of clean water， sanitation and hygiene to cushion them from ravages of diarrhea diseases.
He predicted the number of people in need of WASH assistance could reach 4.5 million by April this year if the dry spell fails to subside.
"Reduced access to water contributes directly to malnutrition while water stress reported in drought affected regions will increase the risk of cholera outbreak，" said Adam.
The international community has rallied behind efforts to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe in Somalia as the dry spell escalates.
Adam said UNICEF in conjunction with bilateral donors and the new Somalia government have intensified resource mobilization to support life saving interventions that include food aid， water supply and health.
"Unlike 2011， we responded urgently to the current drought crisis and there is a commitment from the international community and new Somalia government to enhance response to this challenge，" Adam said.
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