- Posted August 17, 2011 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
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The Face of Hunger in the Horn of Africa
- zdan, CNN iReport producer
Jon Warren, World Vision photographer
This is the face of severe malnutrition. No mother should have to experience the emotional distress of not being able to provide enough food for her children. I met Layla Mohamed and her one year-old baby on my last morning in Somalia, on a quick trip to the IDP* camp near the World Vision office in Garowe, in the Puntland region of northeastern Somalia.
The staff had agreed to take me back to the camp one last time to check on the condition of a very ill six year-old boy, Khaleed, I met my first day. I had been worrying about his condition since our first meeting, and I finally received good news. Khaleed had been given ORS and Plumpy’Nut for severe malnutrition by World Vision staff and was now sitting up on his own. What a relief! He was surviving!
Then Layla came up to us in desperation with her 1 year-old baby, Zam Zam, hoping we could do something to help her child as well. She looked bewildered about what was happening to her baby.
At only 23, Layla already had five children and had been a child bride. Staff told me she may have married as early as 10 or 12 years old. Layla fled the conflict in Mogadishu with her husband and children, but now she is completely consumed with fighting to save her baby boy.
World Vision staff gave her Plumpy’Nut to feed him and urged her to take him immediately to the camp center for malnourished children. After reminding her not to neglect regular breast feedings, Layla replied, “I don’t sleep enough because I am so worried. I wake up in the night and give drink to the baby.”
More than 29,000 children from Somalia under the age of 5 have died of malnutrition and other related illnesses during the past three months in the Horn of Africa famine, according to the U.S. government.
*Internationally displaced person