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European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations

The humans of the hunger crisis

Countries in the Horn of Africa, including Ethiopia, Somalia and South Sudan, have been facing a devastating drought – often described as “the worst in a generation”.

With EU humanitarian support, UNICEF is implementing a 3-year programme in Ethiopia, Somalia and South Sudan to prevent malnutrition and provide life-saving aid to those already malnourished.

Over its duration, the initiative wants to reach 3.1 million severely malnourished children in the 3 countries. It also aims to build stronger health and nutrition systems to better withstand future shocks.

In pictures, see how health and community workers, humanitarians and parents are working to save the lives of children on the frontlines of the climate crisis.

Woman sitting in a children's ward while holding a child on her lap.
Betty Achan, 50, has been looking after some of South Sudan’s most vulnerable children for the better part of 30 years – many of those spent in Juba’s only children’s hospital. “Sometimes I sleep here,” she said.
© UNICEF, 2022 (photographer: Sebastian Rich). All rights reserved. Licensed to the European Union under conditions.
Outside in the hospital courtyard sits Dhieu Deng, 28, himself a nurse, and the father of Ajang Dhieu, just 18 months old.
Outside in the hospital courtyard sits Dhieu Deng, 28, himself a nurse, and the father of Ajang Dhieu, just 18 months old. Ajang is anemic and very thin. The two have a 5-year-old son at home and made the journey together to save their youngest.
© UNICEF, 2022 (photographer: Sebastian Rich). All rights reserved. Licensed to the European Union under conditions.
Dr Diang Puch with in the background - out of focus - a woman and child
Dr Diang Puch, 36, treats malnourished children at Bentiu hospital. Flooding has caused an upsurge in children suffering from severe acute malnutrition. His biggest worry is that children will become too weak to fight off childhood diseases like measles.
© UNICEF, 2022 (photographer: Sebastian Rich). All rights reserved. Licensed to the European Union under conditions.
Woman sitting on a bed with her child on her lap
Nyaruon, 18 months, is one of the patients Dr Puch has treated. She was brought to Bentiu hospital by her mother, when the little girl got diarrhoea and her stomach started swelling. They too were displaced by flooding.
© UNICEF, 2022 (photographer: Sebastian Rich). All rights reserved. Licensed to the European Union under conditions.
Photo of the face of Angelina Mycn
Angelina Mycn, 26, is a nurse focused on maternal, infant and young child nutrition. She teaches mothers about the importance of exclusive breastfeeding. Angelina has lived in Bentiu since conflict drove her from her own village.
© UNICEF, 2022 (photographer: Sebastian Rich). All rights reserved. Licensed to the European Union under conditions.
Photo of Lina Nyabol in front of images depicting 'best nutrition' practices
Lina Nyabol, 27, is a Nutrition Assistant with World Relief, a UNICEF partner, and is teaching mothers in Bentiu about the best nutritional practices for their children. She also monitors the children’s weight and height to prevent malnutrition.
© UNICEF, 2022 (photographer: Sebastian Rich). All rights reserved. Licensed to the European Union under conditions.

Meanwhile, in Somalia, the worst drought in 40 years is starting to claim the lives of the youngest there – a situation playing out across the Horn of Africa.

Photo of Hubi Ahmed's face
Hubi Ahmed, 24, works for the NGO CEDA at the UNICEF-supported nutrition centre in Dollow, Somalia. She provides mothers with counselling. Hubi is worried because of a measles outbreak that could quickly prove deadly for many malnourished children.
© UNICEF, 2022 (photographer: Sebastian Rich). All rights reserved. Licensed to the European Union under conditions.
Photo of Faduma Abdi Kadir Hussein's face
Faduma Abdi Kadir Hussein, 52, is from the local Dollow community and is helping to organise the informal displacement site. She owns the land and gave desperate families permission to stay there. “I’m from the community,” she says. “I want to help.”
© UNICEF, 2022 (photographer: Sebastian Rich). All rights reserved. Licensed to the European Union under conditions.
Photo of Riyak Yusuf's face
Riyak Yusuf, 23, works at a UNICEF-supported nutrition centre in Dollow where she screens children for malnutrition. They are seeing more children who are malnourished and with health issues. “The drought is the biggest problem for health,” said Riyak.
© UNICEF, 2022 (photographer: Sebastian Rich). All rights reserved. Licensed to the European Union under conditions.

Story by UNICEF.
Photos: © UNICEF/Sebastian Rich

Publication date: 20/09/2022