Across East Africa, millions are on the move, the most vulnerable children. Families are walking for days in hopes to find aid, desperate to survive the deadly consequences of drought.
Four-year-old Asha among the millions, was carried in the middle of the night by her grandmother Sulekha after fearing for the frail child’s life.
Cholera can kill, and is known to be one of the prominent disease that prevents a child reaching their 5th birthday. Within hours of first symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhoea, time is limits and this was what Asha’s grandmother feared.
The decision to take Asha to the cholera treatment centre in Baidoa was immediate and to support her granddaughters suffering during the journey Sulekha used rehydration salts, trying to prevent the severity of the illness.
Somalia’s hunger crisis is affecting 360,000 children, including Asha. Already struggling for food and water, her family survives off near nothing. Selling their only food source sorghum to pay for little water.
“We don’t get any food and no one supports us. We have very little sorghum which we eat dry, we don’t get food from anywhere, we don’t get money from anywhere.
“We get our water from a borehole. It is clean but if people crowd then the cattle are served first by using the water trough”, says her grandmother.
Years of devastating drought have left children facing starvation. The drought not only limits food supply; it brings waterborne sickness, such as cholera. Malnourished children, like Asha, are at a much higher risk.
As of the 16th of April, there have been over 28, 408 cases of cholera / Acute Watery Diarrhoea across 46 districts of Somalia since the start of the year, causing 558 deaths. The numbers are rising rapidly and a result Save the Children is adamant in preparing local teams to respond and prevent the worst.
Our on-the-ground teams are also creating a series of oral rehydration points that offer rapid rehydration to people in some of the worst-affected areas. We know that preventing serve dehydration is key when it comes to ensuring vulnerable children do not succumb to cholera.
Save the Children’s emergency health units are actively responding to the outbreak with Cholera treatment centres in Baidoa, supporting local staff with critical training and essential supplies. With your support our facilities give children like Asha the opportunity for survival.