Malnourished children are rushing into Ethiopia’s Gode city’s major hospital‘s paediatric department, as the country’s worst drought in 40 years has caused many families to flee their homes in search of help.
A dozen malnourished children were seen by the media in Gode General Hospital on Tuesday. According to paediatrician Mohammed Amin, the numbers began to rise about five months ago.
“We’ve treated 140 malnourished youngsters so far, and four of them have died,” he said. “This statistic just includes individuals who came to us for treatment, not those in the camp.”
Last year, the hospital got 188 malnourished children; this year, they received that number in a single month, he said, adding that many families were bringing multiple malnourished children with them.
According to the United Nations’ World Food Program (WFP), the Horn of Africa region is experiencing the driest conditions in more than four decades after three consecutive rainy seasons failed.
According to the World Food Program, over 15 million people in the Horn of Africa are in need of food, with that number expected to climb to 20 million by the end of the year.
“There have been a number of climate shocks that have aggravated the food insecurity situation,” WFP spokeswoman Claire Nevill said.
Many families have fled their homes in need of help. Nimo Mohammed, a 35-year-old mother of nine who is expecting her tenth child, now lives in a camp in Ethiopia’s southeastern Somali area with her entire family.
More than 10,000 people, the most of whom are women and children, are receiving assistance there. They live in improvised shelters built of sticks and covered with plastic sheets or clothing.
“This drought has wiped me and my entire family out,” Nimo told the press. “Our children may only eat once a day, but we adults may go days without eating so that the youngsters can eat.”