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Child Malnutrition Rates ‘Alarming’ In Somali Refugee Camps, AFP Reports

“Aid workers say malnutrition rates among children under five at the Dolo Ado camp [in Ethiopia] are alarming,” with “[o]ver 50 percent of children in Dolo Ado’s Hilaweyn camp and nearly half of all children in Kobe camp … suffering from malnutrition, according to a preliminary health survey from the United Nations refugee agency,” Agence France-Presse reports. “Severe drought, famine and conflict forced 300,000 people to flee Somalia” in 2011, according to U.N. estimates, and “[m]any have streamed into Ethiopia, which continues to receive hundreds of refugees every day,” the news service writes.

Voitek Asztabski, an emergency coordinator for Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said, “The living conditions are appalling, there is not enough shelter, there is not enough food, there is not enough water,” AFP writes (Vaughan, 12/25). An accompanying AFP video adds that while “[t]he aid the families receive contains all the nutrients they need … some people are choosing to sell their handouts to buy other food, which isn’t as nutritious” (Davies, 12/23).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.