Reuters reported on 2 August that according to the head of UNFPA, the Horn of Africa food crisis shows the need to provide the world's poor with better access to family planning as part of efforts to prevent future tragedies. The United Nations has declared a famine in two regions of southern Somalia, where 3.7 million are going hungry, with over 12 million people now in need of urgent aid throughout areas including northern Kenya, Djibouti and Ethiopia. Despite regular food shortages and high infant mortality, the region's population has more than doubled since it was hit by major droughts in 1974, spurred by factors such as limited contraception use and a tradition of large families. While stressing the root cause of the crisis was the recent rain failures, UNFPA Executive Director Babatunde Osotimehin said it highlighted the plight of those living in parts of the world where the land struggles to support human life. "We need to improve food production . . . and to work with member states to ensure women and particularly young girls have access to education, including sexual education, and access to health services and reproductive health services including family planning," Dr. Osotimehin told Reuters in a telephone interview. Read: Reuters. Read in Spanish: Reuters
Ms. (United States) reported on 2 August that in an effort to save the lives of pregnant women and women with newborns in the drought-stricken areas of Somalia and some parts of Ethiopia and Kenya, UNFPA is distributing reproductive healthcare kits. The health kits include sanitary pads, soap, underwear and other hygiene items. Headscarves are also included so women can walk to food distribution centres without being harassed by Islamic extremists. Over 3,500 kits have already been distributed to Kenyan women. UNFPA Executive Director Babatunde Osotimehin said, "We are deeply concerned by the gravity of the situation in the region. We call upon the international community to urgently look after the unique needs of pregnant women and mothers whose families' survival are particularly at risk." Read: Ms.