New York: A drought and high food prices have brought increased malnutrition to Somalia, where the situation is "rapidly deteriorating”, a high-ranking United Nations official said on Wednesday.
"We have currently the highest rate of malnutrition in the whole of Africa, more than 30 percent of the children are suffering from global acute malnutrition," said Mark Bowden, the UN humanitarian coordinator for Somalia.
"If we are not able to respond, there will be many more lives lost as a result of malnutrition."
According to Bowden, a 270 percent increase in food prices over the past year, coupled with the effect of a 2010 drought on food production, means "large proportions" of the population are unable to meet their food needs.
Only 40 percent of appeals for international aid have been met, he added.
In the Horn of Africa, the drought has affected more than 10 million people, said Elisabeth Byrs, a spokeswoman for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
According to UN statistics, the drought has affected 3.2 million in Ethiopia, 3.2 million people in Kenya, 2.6 million in Somalia and 117,000 in Djibouti.