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Parts of south Somalia suffering from famine
Published in Saudi Press Agency on 20 - 07 - 2011

Parts of southern Somalia are suffering from famine, a U.N. official said Wednesday, and tens of thousands of Somalis have probably already died in the worst hunger emergency in a generation, AP reported.
The Horn of Africa is suffering a devastating drought compounded by war, neglect and spiraling prices. Some areas in the region have not had such a low rainfall in 60 years, aid group Oxfam said.
The U.N. needs $300 million in the next two months, said Mark Bowden, the U.N.'s top official in charge of humanitarian aid in Somalia. The last time conditions were this bad was in 1992, when hundreds of thousands of Somalis starved to death. That famine prompted intervention by an international peacekeeping force, but it eventually pulled out after two American Black Hawk helicopters were shot down in 1993.
The southern Somali regions of Bakool and Lower Shabelle regions are suffering from famine, Bowden said. Across East Africa, more than 11.3 million people need aid, the World Food Program said.
"Somalia is facing its worst food security crisis in the last 20 years," Bowden said. "This desperate situation requires urgent action to save lives."
Famine is officially defined as when two adults or four children per 10,000 people die of hunger each day and a third of children are acutely malnourished. In some areas of Somalia, six people are dying a day and more than half of children are acutely malnourished, Bowden said. Prices of staple foods have increased 270 percent over the last year.
-- SPA


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