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Worst Drought in Somalia in 60 Years Causes Starvation

Thursday 7th July 2011

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The worst drought in 60 years has hit the Horn of Africa region. The United Nations says that 2.8 million people in Somalia need emergency aid and in the worst hit areas, one in three children are suffering from severe malnutrition. Somalians have been fleeing the country to the borders of neighbouring Ethiopia and Kenya to find food. Hundreds and thousands of severely malnourished men, women and children are in dire need of food. The situation has been made worse due to war in the country, drought, causing a rise in food prices and a ban by Islamist rebels on humanitarian agencies being allowed into the country to offer food aid.

The BBC reports today that Islamist rebels recently lifted the ban on humanitarian agencies supplies of food aid to Somalis. Locals, however, say that Al Shabaab lifted the ban simply to generate money to fund their war as it had previously told aid agencies to pay a hefty fee for security or registration.

Oxfam and other aid agencies are appealing for millions of dollars for emergency funding to help the 12 million or so Somalis who are at risk of drought-related diseases including malnutrition. Children arriving at the refugee camp are so weak they die within 24 hours despite emergency food and care.

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