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Malnutrition rife in Somalia amid famine warning

Somalia women and children in an IDP camp   -  
Copyright © africanews
Farah Abdi Warsameh/Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Somalia

"Time is running out" for thousands of people in Somalia as a historic drought is ravaging the country, according to a climate expert.

The wider Horn of Africa has had four consecutive failed rainy seasons, a first in over four decades.

A fifth rainy season, due to start in the coming days, will likely fail as well, warned Guleid Artan, Director of the IGAD-Climate Prediction and Application Centre (ICPAC).

That endangers an estimated 20 million people in one of the world's most impoverished and turbulent regions.

IGAD (Intergovernmental Authority on Development) is an eight-country trade bloc which includes governments from the Horn of Africa, Nile Valley and the African Great Lakes.

At least one million people have been displaced by the drought and widespread deaths are being reported.

Hungry families are staggering through parched terrain in search of assistance and many bury their dead along the way.

Even when they reach camps outside urban areas, they find little or no help.

Somali authorities say they have not received adequate funding from international donors that have turned their focus on Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Somalia also sourced at least 90% of its wheat from Russia and Ukraine before the war and have been hard hit by the steep rise in food prices.

In Somalia, 250,000 people died from hunger in 2011, when the UN declared a famine in some parts of the country.

Half of them were children.

The United Nations on Monday warned there were concrete indications that famine was likely to occur later this year in the southern Bay region.

It fell just short of a formal famine declaration in Somalia.