A sixth Somali region is now affected by famine and 750,000 Somalis risk starvation over the next four months if they do not receive sufficient aid, the UN said on Monday. Tens of thousands have already died, over half of them children.
AFP - Famine spread to a sixth southern Somali region and will likely extend further in the coming four months, the United Nations said 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.
In Pictures: Famine in East Africa
Villagers in Kaikor (Turkana district, Northern Kenya) assist a crisis meeting to try and address the food crisis, most of them are severely malnourished. Photo: James Andre.
Nakwai Lojore lost his wife 4 days ago, he says he will endure the same fate if no one helps him. The drought has claimed 12 lives in the village of Kaikor over the past two weeks. Photo: James Andre.
Most of the children in the village are suffering from distended bellies, a sign of severe malnutrition. Photo: James Andre.
The Turkana are a pastoralist ethnic group that rely on cattle for their livelihoods, most of the livestock has been wiped out by the drought. Photo: James Andre.
Children and the elderly are suffering the most in this latest famine in East Africa. Photo: James Andre.
Amuth Logiel walked for three days with her two children from the village of Kaitede in the mountains. Her other children died of starvation and so she decided to walk to the village of Loitanitin search of food. Photo: James Andre.
Nabosatuko Ebenyo lives in the village of Loitanit. Food aid has not reached her village, so she and her children are surviving on wild berries and handouts from her neighbors. Photo: James Andre.
A memorial for 13 people killed by bandits on 5th July 2011. The bandits prey on ranchers' livestock. In this instance, the thieves made off with 200 animals and fled across the border to Ethiopia. Photo: James Andre.
The combination of the drought and the threat of violence have prompted thousands of villagers to flee their homes, leaving behind a lifeless, desolate landscape. Photo: James Andre.
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 percent 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.
Date created : 2011-09-05