One of Ireland’s most experienced aid workers has described the devastating famine-like conditions in Somalia as the worst she has ever seen.
Concern Worldwide’s Regional Director for the Horn of Africa, Carol Morgan, said starving children are literally dying on roads as they travel to emergency feeding centres.
Ms Morgan has just returned from Somalia where 6.2 million people, more than half the country’s population, are in need of urgent food assistance as a result of conflict and the most severe drought in decades.
Carol, who has worked in many of the world’s most impoverished countries since 1989, including those experiencing famine, said the current hunger crisis in Somalia is the most devastating she has ever witnessed.
She said: “This is the worst I have ever seen. Every child I saw was malnourished.
“But these were children who had now finally reached the Concern feeding centres. So many more children who don’t make it to centres like ours are dying in their villages and on the road.
“Your heart breaks when you hear all of these harrowing stories. I spoke to one woman who had just given birth at one of our health centres.
“She had to walk for five days with her other children who were all malnourished before getting transport to our centre and giving birth.
“This is an exceptional crisis. The Irish public have always been very generous and supportive at times like this in the past and I hope they can support us again to help these families who are in such desperate need.”
Famine-like conditions already exist in Somalia where an estimated 363,000 children under the age of five are acutely malnourished.
It is estimated that over 20 million people across East Africa are now at risk of starvation.
In parts of war-torn South Sudan, famine has already been declared, while Kenya and Ethiopia are experiencing serious food shortages.
Concern Worldwide is providing cash, food, water, nutrition, shelter and sanitation and is appealing for more donations.
Log onto www.concern.net to make a donation or call 1850 211 844.