Friday, 24 March, 2017

110 dead from hunger in past 48 hours in drought

Some 71,000 children are said to be severely malnourished Some 71,000 children are said to be severely malnourished
Lance Thomas | 07 March, 2017, 00:17

Humanitarian agencies worry that the situation has started to look increasingly similar to the 2011 starvation in Somalia, in which over a quarter of one million people died, according to a press release from the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

Most of the deaths occurred in southwest Somalia's rural areas in the Bay region.

At least 110 people - mostly women and children - died from hunger over 48 hours in one region of drought-stricken Somalia, the nation's prime minister said. All are connected by a thread of violent conflict, the United Nations chief said.

Thousands have been streaming into Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, in search of food aid, overwhelming local and worldwide aid agencies.

Somalia's government declared the drought a national disaster on Tuesday.

The African country is one of four regions, along with northeast Nigeria, South Sudan and Yemen that were named by the United Nations secretary-general, who announced a $4.4bn (£3.58bn) aid appeal.

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Displaced Somali girls who fled the drought in southern Somalia stand in a queue to receive food handouts at a feeding center in a camp in Mogadishu, Somalia, Feb. 25, 2017.

Last month the UN's children's agency UNICEF said more than a quarter of a million children might suffer from severe acute malnutrition this year.

Somalia's newly elected Somali-American leader, President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed has appealed to the global community and Somalis all over the world for help.

The government has meanwhile said the widespread hunger "makes people vulnerable to exploitation, human rights abuses and to criminal and terrorist networks".

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that more than 6.2 million people in Somalia - half of the population - are in need of emergency humanitarian assistance. Local news outlet Alldhacdo reported dozens of deaths due to cholera in the town of Awdinle, also in the Bay region.

The agency said that more than 6.2 million Somalis - half of the population - needed urgent humanitarian aid, including nearly three million who are going hungry.

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