Caoimhe de Barra, CEO of Trócaire, travelled to Somalia last week to support the Trócaire clinics providing treatment to those who are facing malnutrition and famine as a result of prolonged drought in the region.

Speaking to The Irish Times, Caoimhe de Barra highlighted the strain that is currently being placed on Trócaire’s services. She said, “The UN has said that between October and December, areas in Somalia will experience famine. The number of children who are needing treatment for malnutrition, and are presenting at Trócaire’s clinics, has tripled over the last six months. This is an indication that famine is approaching. The UN estimates that 1.5 million children will be malnourished by October.”

The UN’s emergency relief coordinator, Martin Griffiths, highlighted the devastating drought in Somalia that has left millions without enough food or water. Mr Griffiths said that four failed rainy seasons have meant that this is “the last minute of the eleventh hour to save lives. The clock is running and it’ll soon run out”.

Meteorologists are now predicting both a fifth failed rainy season from October-December and potentially a sixth early next year. “This is unprecedented, even in Somalia,” Mr Griffiths said. “This has never happened before.”

In conclusion, the CEO of Trócaire issued an appeal for funding to help the response to the incoming famine in the Horn of Africa. Ms de Barra said, “Our biggest challenge is funding. The scale of the needs here are enormous but at the same time as people’s needs increasing, the cost of responding is increasing. For example, it would have cost us €50 six months ago to buy a box of therapeutic food to treat a severely malnourished child. That same box now costs €95. We simply don’t have enough money to respond to the needs that are facing us.”

For more information on the development work of Trócaire, visit https://www.trocaire.org/.

ENDS