Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Imagine the reality

It it still so hard to believe ... imagine dying from hunger, starving to death. Sometimes it brings me to my knees, like I am hearing it for the first time every time.

From CNN:

Ethiopian children dying daily from starvationCNNEGU VILLAGE, Ethiopia (CNN) -- A year of drought and soaring food prices has threatened the lives of tens of thousands of Ethiopian children.
"We have nothing to feed our children," said Egu's village elder. "We are losing our children day by day."
Ethiopia's Health Ministry, along with UNICEF, monitors the health of thousands of children here, but the number of areas they have been able to regularly visit has been cut in half this year.
The small rains that normally allow Ethiopian farmers to plant a second crop each year did not come this year, adding to an already critical food shortage.
"It's an open crisis and there are more people than we expected, than the government expected, who need additional food," said Bjorn Ljungqvist, head of UNICEF Ethiopia.
There is a critical shortfall in the supply of therapeutic foods used to treat children with severe acute malnutrition, the UNICEF official said.
The UN's children's agency is appealing for $10 million to pay for emergency needs of more than seven million children under five as well as pregnant and lactating mothers in 325 drought-affected districts.
The World Food Programme (WFP) supplies the emergency food for UNICEF, but rising food prices mean it could not guarantee aid for all the areas in need.
"Unless you get immediate assistance the risk is, you fall into severe malnutrition and eventually death, so unless our supporters come in immediately for this we fear that is what is going to happen in the country," said Jakob Mikkelse, the WFP's nutrition and education chief.
Egu is a village UNICEF is no longer able to visit on a regular basis.
"If we were not here, those children who we had found now, with severe acute malnutrition would have died at home," UNICEF Emergency Nutrition Project Officer Samson Dessie.
UNICEF estimates six million Ethiopian children under the age of five are at risk and more than 120,000 have only about a month to live.
As the relief workers depart Egu, they leave behind a few emergency food packs and a promise to return.
The Ethiopian government has worked with UNICEF since 2004 on the Enhanced Outreach Strategy (EOS) to provide food for child survival. The effort distributes child survival packages that include vitamin A supplementation, de-worming, measles catch-up, nutritional screening and referral to supplementary or therapeutic feeding programs.
"EOS is really very important from many perspectives with regard to child survival," Dessie said. "The first is it brings high-impact, low-cost child survival packages like vitamin A, which can reduce child mortality by up to 35 per cent."


cathy said...

Every day I have been praying. Every day I am horrified by it.

Tiny's Mom said...

I look at my daughter and can't imagine helplessly watching her starve, yet parents all over Ethiopia are having to do just that. It breaks my heart.

Melanie said...

I think about this a lot, but seeing it in writing just makes it that much more real.....Mom's are watching their children and know they will die in a month....how incredibly sad!!! Sad, so sad....that's really all I can say....