Thursday 27th April, 2017
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Somalia: 110 dead from hunger in past 48 hours in drought

Somalia: 110 dead from hunger in past 48 hours in drought

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) -- Somalia’s prime minister said Saturday that 110 people have died from hunger in the past 48 hours in a single re­gion — the first death toll announced in a severe drought threatening mil­lions of people across the country.
Somalia’s government declared the drought a national disaster on Tues­day. The United Nations estimates that 5 million people in this Horn of Af­rica nation need aid, amid warnings of a full-blown famine.
Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire spoke 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 U.N. 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. All are connected by a thread of violent con­flict, the U.N. chief said.
The U.N. humanitar­ian coordinator, Stephen O’Brien, was expected to visit Somalia in the next few days.
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 center 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 2 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 U.S. Agency for International Develop­ment’s Famine Early Warn­ing Systems Network has warned.
Because of a lack of clean water in many areas, there is the additional threat of cholera and other diseas­es, U.N. experts say. Some deaths from cholera al­ready have been reported.
The government has said the widespread hunger “makes people vulnerable to exploitation, human rights abuses and to crimi­nal and terrorist networks.”
The U.N. humanitarian appeal for 2017 for Somalia is $864 million to provide assistance to 3.9 million people. But the U.N. World Food Program recently re­quested an additional $26 million plan to respond to the drought

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