Famine spreads in Somalia region: UN

Last Updated: Monday, September 5, 2011 - 16:03

Nairobi: Famine spread to a sixth southern
Somali region and will likely extend further in the coming
four months, the United Nations said on Monday.

"Acute malnutrition and the rate of crude mortality have
surpassed famine thresholds in Bay region of southern
Somalia," the UN Somalia Food Security Nutrition Analysis Unit
(FSNAU) said in a statement.

"Assuming current levels of response continue, famine is
expected to spread further over the coming four months," the
statement added.

The Bay area, which includes the major town of Baidoa, is
a stronghold of hardline Islamist Shebab insurgents who have
imposed severe restrictions on aid into the areas they
control.

"Tens of thousands of people have already died, over half
of whom are children," the statement added.

Famine was first declared in the southern Bakool and
Lower Shabelle regions of southern Somalia in July.

It later spread to three further areas, including into
the Somali capital Mogadishu and the Afgoye corridor, the world`s
largest camp for displaced people.

Al Qaeda affiliated Shebab fighters pulled out of
positions in Mogadishu last month, but still control much of
southern Somalia, the worst-hit region by famine and the
extreme drought.

Famine implies that at least 20 per cent of households
face extreme food shortages, acute malnutrition in over 30
percent of people, and two deaths per 10,000 people every day,
according to UN definition.

Several areas are at severe risk of tipping over into
famine conditions, it added.

"An additional 50,000 people in cropping areas of Gedo
and Juba and pastoral areas of Bakool face famine-level food
deficits," the statement read.

"In total, 4 million people are in crisis in Somalia,
with 750,000 people at risk of death in the coming four months
in the absence of adequate response."

Some 12.4 million people in the Horn of Africa, including
parts of Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya and Uganda, are affected by
the worst drought in decades in the region and are in need of
humanitarian assistance, according to the UN.

Bureau Report



First Published: Monday, September 5, 2011 - 16:03

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