East Africa Feels the Impact of War in Ukraine
Shortages worsen the hunger crisis
Have you ever been caught in circumstances beyond your control that threaten you or your family? This is happening across East Africa, where, according to the World Food Programme, “A seismic hunger crisis is enveloping the world amidst a time of unprecedented needs.”
In this region — which is already struggling with the effects of drought and conflict — the war in Ukraine is having dire consequences for countries that usually depend on Ukraine and Russia as sources of grains, cooking oils, etc. And surging food, water and fuel prices in Somalia, Ethiopia and other East African countries are making it even more difficult for people to meet their basic nutritional needs.
After three years of drought and a month into this year’s rainy season, East Africa is still waiting for the rains to come. Crops are failing (again), and livestock are dying of starvation and thirst. In Ethiopia, where more than 1 million livestock have died, malnutrition rates are well above emergency thresholds. In Somalia, the threat of famine looms.
What does this mean for the health of children and families in East Africa?
The pain of hunger is just one part of malnutrition’s impact. Malnourishment contributes to a host of other issues, including loss of muscle mass, delayed wound healing, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, depression, anxiety and numerous other health problems. And the impacts of childhood malnutrition can last a lifetime, affecting a child’s growth and development — if the child survives. According to the World Health Organization, nutrition-related factors contribute to about 45% of deaths in children under-5 years of age.
But though the situation might feel daunting, we still have hope — thanks to our supporters. Together, we’re working to help ensure that parents don’t have to see their children go hungry:
- In Somalia, we’re providing food rations, providing therapeutic feeding programs for young children and supporting the health of nursing mothers so they can successfully breastfeed their babies.
- In Ethiopia, we’re identifying and treating malnourished children with therapeutic feeding programs and training local volunteers to educate the community on how to prevent malnutrition.
- Across East Africa, we’re training local health workers and providing healthcare for people who are facing dire circumstances — children and families whom we may never know personally, but who share many of the same hopes and dreams: a safe, secure life and a chance for the people they love to thrive.
Sometimes, the only hope we have is each other. Your support means that communities around the world facing conflict, disaster and disease have a better chance at recovery and self-reliance. We are so grateful for our supporters, who are willing to offer others the hope and support that we would all want for ourselves and our loved ones when the challenges become too big to handle alone.
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International Medical Corps is a global first responder that delivers emergency medical and related services to those affected by conflict, disaster and disease, no matter where they are, no matter the conditions. We also train people in their communities, providing them with the skills they need to recover, chart their own path to self-reliance and become effective first responders themselves. Established in 1984 by volunteer doctors and nurses, we are a nonprofit with no religious or political affiliation, and now have roughly 7,500 staff members around the world, 97% of whom are locally hired. Since our founding, we have operated in more than 80 countries, and have provided more than $3.9 billion in emergency relief and training to communities worldwide.
Our staff includes experts in emergency medicine, infectious disease, nutrition, mental health, maternal and infant health, gender-based violence prevention and treatment, training, and water, sanitation and hygiene, all within the humanitarian context.
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