300 Somali Children Left For Dead In Journey To Refugee Camp - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

300 Somali Children Left For Dead In Journey To Refugee Camp

HUFFINGTONPOST.COM/DADAAB, Kenya — Malnutrition stole most of Habibo's eyesight and left the 1-year-old close to death. Medical personnel tried to pump life back into the toddler, but she only moved when her stomach fitfully spasmed.

As her mother tried to feed her, her frail hands tried to resist the small cup placed between her lips.

"My prayer is 'God, heal my daughter,'" said Habibo's mother, Marwo Maalin, in a resigned tone earlier this week.

East Africa's drought is battering Somali children, hundreds of whom have been left for dead on the long, dry journey to the world's largest refugee camp.

UNICEF on Thursday called the Somalia drought and resulting refugee crisis "the most severe humanitarian emergency in the world." The international Red Cross also warned that one in 10 children in southern Somali suffer from acute malnutrition.

Thousands of Somalis are walking days and sometimes weeks to reach the refugee complex known as Dadaab, in hopes of finding food. But the journey is claiming untold numbers of children as victims.

Young, lifeless bodies abandoned by their parents lie on the sandy path to the camp. In other cases parents perish during the journey, leaving children in the wilderness, alone.

UNICEF says that more than a half million Somali children face life-threatening conditions with long-lasting consequences for their physical and mental development.

For example, Habibo was suffering from a lack of vitamin A, which can lead to permanent blindness, according to Dr. Luana Lima of Medecins Sans Frontieres which was treating her.

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