In this Monday, July 4, 2011 photo, Palestinians inside the Khoudari grocery store in Gaza City. Israel eased its blockade of the Hamas-ruled Palestinian territory a year ago and now allows virtually all consumer goods in, meaning there are no longer acute shortages of foods or basic household items. Tiny construction projects have begun sprouting up, and Gaza is awash in big ticket items such as cars and refrigerators. But deep troubles remain. Israel maintains restrictions on the key construction and export sectors, and the vast majority of Gazans are still barred from traveling in and out of the territory. Nearly half the work force is unemployed, and more than 70 percent of the population relies on food handouts, making fancy chocolates, like any other non-essential goods, a luxury most cannot afford. AP Photo.
n this Monday, July 4, 2011 photo, Maher Khoudari, owner of a grocery shop, sits behind the counter of his store in Gaza city. Maher Khoudari boasts that his Gaza grocery has a wide assortment of chocolates for sale _ even some you couldn't find in the cosmopolitan Israeli city of Tel Aviv. AP Photo.
Palestinian children play with colored parachutes at an event organised by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) seeking to achieve a world record for the largest number of people flying parachutes from the ground, at a sports stadium in Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, Thursday, June 30, 2011. The event was part of the "Summer Games", a six-week summer camp organised by UNRWA to provide a recreational outlet for children in the Gaza Strip. AP Photo.
An activist checks letters written from children in the U.S. on board the Gaza-bound "Audacity of Hope" ship at Perama port near Athens, June 30, 2011. If pro-Palestinian activists unexpectedly manage to slip past Israel's naval blockade on the Gaza Strip in the coming days, they might be surprised by what they see in the Hamas-controlled enclave when they disembark. Roads are being paved, houses are being built, new cars have taken to the busy streets and shops are full of myriad products. Even the longtime scourge of unemployment is easing marginally, boosting living standards for a lucky few [selected by Hamas]. Reuters.
GENEVA (AP) — Throngs of Somali children are dying because of the harrowing journey with their families to reach refugee camps in neighboring Kenya and Ethiopia, the U.N. refugee agency said Tuesday.
Some of the children don't survive the exhausting trek and aid workers are learning of those deaths from families who tell their stories once they arrive at one of the overcrowded border camps that now host more than 382,000 people, agency officials said.
But agency officials said many of the children arrive so hungry and frail that even the emergency care and therapeutic feeding that they immediately receive isn't enough to revive them. The officials say they do not yet know exactly how many children are dying, but the crisis is taking on unimaginable proportions.
"It's so extreme," agency spokeswoman Melissa Fleming said. "Our people are saying they've never seen anything like it."
Fleming said 54,000 people fled Somalia in June — triple the number in May — and the refugee families include an unknown number of children under age 5 who are dying from hunger and exhaustion.
More than 135,000 Somalis so far have fled the unending violence in their country in a fast-escalating crisis that is being compounded by one of the worst droughts to hit East Africa in decades, Fleming said.
Her agency estimates a quarter of Somalia's 7.5 million population is now uprooted in their own country or living as a refugee abroad. In Dadaab camp in Kenya, for example, 1,400 refugees a day are pouring in.