Sun | Jan 21, 2018

More than 100 died of hunger in Somalian region

Published:Sunday | March 5, 2017 | 12:17 AM
In this photo taken recently, two mothers hold their babies at a feeding centre in a camp in Mogadishu, after fleeing the drought in southern Somalia.


The Somalia government yesterday reported that 110 people died from hunger over a 48-hour period in a single region the first death toll announced in a severe drought threatening millions across the country.

The government declared the drought a national disaster last Tuesday and the United Nations (UN) estimates that five million people in this Horn of Africa nation need aid, amid warnings of a full-blown famine.

Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire made the announcement about the number of victims during a meeting with the Somali National Drought Committee.

The death toll he announced is from the Bay region in the southwest part of the country alone.

Somalia was one of four regions singled out by the UN Secretary-General last month in a $4.4 billion aid appeal to avert catastrophic hunger and famine, along with northeast Nigeria, South Sudan and Yemen.

in search of food

Thousands have been streaming into Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, in search of food aid, overwhelming local and international aid agencies. Over 7,000 internally displaced people checked into one feeding centre recently.

The drought is the first crisis for Somalia's newly elected Somali-American leader, President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed.

Previous droughts and a quarter-century of conflict, including ongoing attacks by extremist group al-Shabab, have left the country fragile.

Mohamed has appealed to the international community and Somalia's Diaspora of two million people for help.

About 363,000 acutely malnourished children in Somalia "need urgent treatment and nutrition support, including 71,000 who are severely malnourished," the US Agency for International Development's Famine Early Warning Systems Network warned.