The devastating impact of the famine and conflict on women and girls
The humanitarian situation in East Africa continues to deteriorate, and there is a high risk the country will face its third famine in 25 years. More than 6.2 million people – half of the total population are in urgent need of humanitarian aid, including almost 3 million facing a food security crisis. Many are forced to sell their livestock and others are forced to leave their home in search of food and water. Under these life-threatening circumstances, it is reported many women and girls are at risk of sexual violence and exploitation.
Mostly women and children are displaced within Somalia after being forced to flee their homes, many of which are at risk of rape, the effects of war still continue even after the fighting ends. The coming together of a drought, famine and conflict is particularly devastating for women, whilst attempting to save their children from starvation, malnutrition and disease, women in Somalia are subject to conflict-related security threats including sexual violence and rape.
Nearly 5.5 million people are at risk of contracting waterborne diseases, more than half of whom are women and children under 5 years of age. Acute drought in many parts of Somalia has reduced the availability of clean water sources, and the food crisis has given way to malnutrition. More than 360,000 acutely malnourished children and 70,000 severely malnourished children are in need of urgent and life-saving support. According to United Nations estimates, if the current food and security situation continues these numbers are estimated to double in 2017.
Drought conditions have increased the spread of epidemic-prone diseases such as acute watery diarrhea, cholera and measles. In the first 7 weeks of 2017, over 6,000 cases and 65 deaths by acute watery diarrhea/cholera have been reported, and a total of 2,578 cases of suspected measles were reported as of September 2016.
The famine has left women and children in exceptionally vulnerable circumstances, mothers reduced to eating one meal a day or a few morsels which are left over after their children have eaten. Both women and children are exposed to danger being displaced and unaccompanied, they go in search of food therefore at high risk of sexual violence, as a result, women face a triple burden: to survive, care for their families and escape sexual violence in the process.
Forgotten Women is distributing food and water to the most vulnerable families in 5 key districts in Somalia – Mogadishu, Baida, Kismayo, Puntland and Somaliland. We are aiming to ensure extra care is given to the critical needs of women in these most remote areas.
“We have received reports that women have no choice but to go in search of food and water to keep their children alive and have been attacked, with the worst yet still to come, we aim to assist women where we can, saving them from starvation & sexual violence. We must all pull together and save the dignity of these women as well as saving them from starvation in these remote areas.” Sundeep Bahia, CEO at Forgotten Women
Ways you can help:
Emergency Food Supplies £10 (1 person for 1 month)
Emergency Food Supplies £70 (family of 7 for 1 month)
Emergency Food Supplies £350 (5 families for 1 month)