United Nations migration agency launches $24.6 million appeal for drought-hit Somalia

Mar 07, 2017, 00:14
United Nations migration agency launches $24.6 million appeal for drought-hit Somalia

The United Nations estimates that 5 million people in this Horn of Africa nation need aid, amid warnings of a full-blown starvation.

Most of the deaths occurred in southwest Somalia's rural areas in the Bay region. "In the last 48 hours 110 people die due to starvation and diarrhoea in Bay region", Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire's office said in a statement.

The humanitarian crisis is linked to violent conflict, says United Nations chief António Guterres.

Capital city Mogadishu is bearing the brunt of the catastrophe as thousands of people have flocked here to find food.

Mohamed Fiqi, Minister of Agriculture for southwest state in Somalia, said the cholera situation was out of their control and demanded emergency aid from the government and global community.

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.

As well as the lack of food caused by the drought, there are many cases of dehydration.

The UN children's agency UNICEF had in February warned the drought in Somalia could lead to up to 270,000 children suffering from acute malnutrition this year.

Because of a lack of clean water in many areas, there is the additional threat of cholera and other diseases, United Nations experts say.

Previous droughts and a quarter-century of conflict, including ongoing attacks by al-Shabaab, have left the country fragile. Local news outlet Alldhacdo reported dozens of deaths due to cholera in the town of Awdinle, also in the Bay region. The Somalian government warned that the widespread hunger "makes people vulnerable to exploitation, human rights abuses and to criminal and terrorist networks".

"Mostly children and elderly people died in villages surrounding the town of Baido", Abdullahi Omar Roble, the government's regional humanitarian chief, told DPA.

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