Complacency could spell disaster for a million children in Horn of Africa

As floodwaters and political tensions continue to rise in the Horn of Africa, Save the Children is calling on the permanent members of the UN security council to put pressure on warring factions and neighbouring countries not to fuel a war that could affect up to one million children.

Children in this region are victims of multiple disasters. Drought has been followed by floods and escalating conflict will compound these problems and further endanger their lives. Save the Children is urging international donors, NGOs and UN agencies to immediately step-up their response and prepare for a potentially devastating double-emergency in the Horn of Africa.

Venetia Bellers, Save the Children’s Emergency Programme Manager in Kenya, said: “The risk of full scale conflict inside Somalia is very real and the international community must be ready for a movement of refugees. Donors must act now and prepare for a full-scale response to a worst case scenario.

If they fail to heed these loud alarm bells that have been ringing for months, it will spell disaster for thousands of children and their families.”

Many of the refugee camps in the region of Kenya are currently overcrowded, flooded and cut off from the rest of the country. Massive amounts of stagnant water are creating a public health hazard and food is scarce after flooding destroyed crops and livestock forcing market prices to increase threefold in some areas. Children are facing the risk of malnutrition and
disease as well as the risk of being separated from their families.

Save the Children is calling for:

* The international community to continue to put pressure on all sides to prevent the outbreak of wider conflict in Somalia with the potential for large-scale displacement and further human right abuses.
* Neighbouring governments to live up to their commitments in the Refugee Convention and the African Convention on Refugees to safeguard the
rights of people in conflict zones and those seeking safe refuge in the case of an outbreak of conflict in Somalia.

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