CERF allocates US$3.3 million in response to increased malnutrition in Eritrea
20 December 2012: Due to unpredictable rainfall and persistent drought, a significant increase in malnutrition rates in the Northern Red Sea, Southern Red Sea and Maekel regions of Eritrea occurred at the end of November. The deteriorating nutrition situation and the associated health issues have resulted in a joint health and nutrition emergency response.
The UN estimates that more than 320,000 people are food insecure in Eritrea. Among these, the vast majority are children under age 5. To break the cycle and minimize the number of deaths, preventive interventions to reduce disease transmissions and treat severe acute malnutrition are vital.
In response, the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) has provided a rapid response grant of US$3.3 million to two UN agencies.
The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has received $2,629,102 to provide blanket supplementary feeding. The UN World Health Organization (WHO) will implement emergency health interventions, including immunizations, through an allocation of $662,497. The allocations are expected to benefit 320,515 people.
CERF in Action - Rapid Response
CERF allocates $4 million for underfunded emergency in Eritrea
Eritrea is vulnerable to recurrent droughts which adversely affects the 80 per cent of the population that depends on subsistence agriculture and pastoralism for livelihood. Since 2006, there has been a progressive increase in malnutrition in the country, with peaks in 2009 and 2011 due to the affects of drought and food price increases in local markets. Due to food insecurity, the number of admissions to community-based therapeutic feeding centres increased between January and November 2011 compared to the same period in 2010.
Further compounding the food and nutrition situation, a recent study showed the prevalence of intestinal schistosomiasis - a disease caused by parasitic worms - among school children in parts of the country to be 32 per cent. Schistosomiasis has a range of complications including liver failure; the condition exacerbates the anaemic condition already caused by reduced food intake among school children.