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Tens of thousands at risk in Somalia

By Agence France-Presse
Wednesday, September 28, 2011 7:43 EDT
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The humanitarian situation in Somalia remains “highly critical,” as the war-torn nation struggles from drought and famine, theInternational Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) warned Wednesday.

“The situation in Somalia remains highly critical. Hundreds of thousands of Somalis are still displaced from their homes in search of security and food,” the ICRC said in a statement.

“Although humanitarian aid has started to reach the drought- and conflict-affected people, many are still struggling to survive.”

The ICRC said that that “much of the livestock has been decimated and there is no hope for an improvement in the situation until the next harvest in December.”

The short rainy season is due in October, but even in good years this period accounts for just 30 percent of the annual harvest, “not enough to meet the immense needs,” it added.

Four million Somalis are in crisis, with some 750,000 at risk of dying in the next four months, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said Wednesday.

It is also feared that the rains will also raise the risk of diseases, it added.

“The onset of rains anticipated in October could fuel the spread of cholera, measles and malaria, thereby leading to more deaths in a population already weakened by conflict and famine,” OCHA said.

Food deliveries have reached some 1.85 million people as of last week, almost half of those in need, OCHA added.

Drought, high food prices and fighting in Somalia have increased the number of those in need of humanitarian assistance across the Horn of Africa to 13.3 million, according to the UN.

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
AFP journalists cover wars, conflicts, politics, science, health, the environment, technology, fashion, entertainment, the offbeat, sports and a whole lot more in text, photographs, video, graphics and online.
 
 
 
 
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