Dubai: It takes Dh3.67 to fill four cups with nutritious meals and feed four children. Had seven-month-old Minhaj Gedi Farah been given this 10 days ago, he would not have stared at death.
But aid came on time. Minhaj weighed 3.2kg (left) when he first arrived at a field hospital ward in Dadabb, Kenya. Six hundred grams heavier, at 3.8kg (right), the expression in his eyes has changed. For the moment, he can look up at life. Of the 29,000 children under the age of five who have died in the last 90 days in southern Somalia alone, his is the only success story.
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“He is in stable condition and he is doing well,” said Dr John Kiogora of the International Rescue Committee, who has been treating Minhaj since his arrival in late July.
Startling photos of Minhaj’s twig-like arms and hollow cheeks made him the frail face of the worst famine in 60 years. “He has no problem compared to the past days,” said his mother Asiah Dagane, who now smiles broadly and frequently plants kisses on the baby’s cheeks. “Now he sleeps the bulk of the night. When he wakes up, he is hungry and wants milk.”
“I’m very joyful,” his doctor said. “The best thing I have done for this child is to make sure I’ve saved his life.” The UN says 640,000 Somali children are acutely malnourished, suggesting the death toll of small children will rise sharply.