August 8, 2011 (Nairobi) –World Vision announced today that it is expanding its relief efforts to feed children and their families in the Horn of Africa. The international humanitarian aid agency will be establishing a response center in the growing settlements for internally displaced people (IDP) in Dolo Town, which is located within southern Somalia along the border with Ethiopia.
“Our World Vision assessment team visited Dolo last week and was struck by the extremely harsh conditions,” says Mike Weickert, a director of humanitarian and emergency affairs at World Vision. “We saw children who were clearly malnourished and weakened from their long trek to escape the famine and political instability in other parts of southern Somalia.”
Weickert adds: “We met mothers who had delivered babies along the way, including one who had given birth on the hood of a car. Children are visibly ill and weak and urgent action is necessary to ensure their survival.”
The camp at Dolo Town is one of the largest transit facilities for Somalis who are fleeing from violence and famine in other parts of south-central Somalia. A report by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) indicates that as many as 140,000 Somalis have passed through the area on their way to Ethiopia this year. With several hundred refugees arriving each day, local aid agencies are finding it difficult to cope with the situation. Food, medicine, shelter and sanitation are the most urgent needs that will only continue to grow as more IDPs flood into this area.
“During its initial assessment, World Vision distributed food supplies, including plumpy'nut, which is a peanut butter-like substance that is rich in vitamins and is used to treat children suffering from severe malnutrition,” Weickert says. “World Vision also delivered medical supplies and talked to local staff and district officials to determine how we could best provide assistance.”
World Vision will run its Dolo response in coordination with local partner agencies, prioritizing the distribution of food, clean water and sanitation programs for displaced people remaining in transit camps on the Somali side of the border. In the coming weeks, the organization aims to expand these relief activities into the Dolo refugee camps on the Ethiopian side of the border. World Vision is currently staging relief operations in northern Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia.
The public can donate to World Vision’s efforts in the Horn of Africa at www.worldvision.org, call 888.56.CHILD (24453), or text 4AFRICA to 20222 for a $10 donation.
About World Vision World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. We serve the world's poor— regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender.For more information on their efforts, visitWorldVision.org/press or follow them on Twitter at @WorldVisionNews