UNITED NATIONS, June 8 (Xinhua) -- The UN Children's Agency (UNICEF) said on Friday more than 1.25 million children are expected to be acutely malnourished this year because of flooding in Somalia.
Chief UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters here at UN Headquarters during a regular briefing that flooding since April is being blamed.
He said the agency reported about half of children under five years old, or "more than 1.25 million are expected to be acutely malnourished this year. That includes up to 232,000 children who will suffer severe acute malnutrition, which requires specialized lifesaving care."
"Many of the flood-impacted areas are in the path of an ongoing measles outbreak, and a spike in acute watery diarrhea/cholera cases is a major threat," Dujarric said.
"The rains spread diseases that are particularly deadly for malnourished children with exhausted, fragile immune systems," said Christophe Boulierac, UNICEF spokesman in Geneva.
"The flooding has damaged water points, sanitation facilities and other critical infrastructure, and 22 nutrition centers treating over 6,000 acutely malnourished children in areas hosting Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) have had to shut down," he said.
Boulierac said short-term UNICEF funding is running out, and "it will hurt water, health and nutrition services."
UNICEF has received 24.3 million U.S. dollars this year of its 154.9 million dollar appeal which, along with funds carried over, leaves a gap of 110.3 million dollars, or 71 percent, he said.