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Rains, violence leave Somali kids hungry

Internally diisplaced Somali boys line up for food in Mogadishu last month.
Internally diisplaced Somali boys line up for food in Mogadishu last month.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Group says it's treating 1,300 malnourished children in Galcayo in Somalia
  • Rain could eventually ease crisis by bringing down food prices, official says
  • Woman says food helping measles-stricken daughter who lost sight

(CNN) -- More and more mothers, clutching their rail-thin, malnourished children, are arriving at the packed waiting rooms of the Doctor Without Borders clinics in central Somalia, the aid group said.

In fact, the group said it is treating 1,300 children in north and south Galcayo, which is almost half the number of children treated for malnutrition in the area all of last year.

"The situation is alarming," said Karin Fischer Liddle, head of the organization's mission in Somalia. "Our staff is stretched. This is the highest number of malnourished children MSF has ever treated in the area."

Doctors Without Borders -- widely known by its French name, Medecins Sans Frontieres -- said the brutal mix of a lengthy drought, high food prices and insecurity from violence has caused a spike in malnutrition cases.

Rain has come to the area in recent weeks, Fischer Liddle said, but it has caused more children to fall ill, leading to more malnutrition cases.

Now her body is better, unlike when I first brought her here. Now she looks more like other babies.
--Ubah, describing measles-stricken daughter
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In the long run, the rains may help the organization's overburdened clinics in the area.

"Hopefully, the rains all over Somalia will cause food prices to drop and help some of these families," Fischer Liddle said.

She talked about a woman named Ubah who is at one of the nutrition centers that operate in hospitals in Galcayo.

The woman went to the nutrition center after her daughter contracted measles, lost her sight and was unconscious for a week. After more two weeks, Ubah said, she saw improvement in her daughter, though she had not regained her sight.

"They gave her fluid, vitamins and therapeutic food. Now her body is better, unlike when I first brought her here. Now she looks more like other babies," Ubah said.

 
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