The United Nations declared a famine Wednesday in parts of southern Somalia as the east African nation suffers the worst drought in half a century.
Thousands of Somalis have fled in search of food and water, trekking for days in scorching temperatures in desperate attempts to reach refugee camps in neighboring Kenya and Ethiopia.
The declaration of famine in the the southern regions of Bakool and Lower Shabelle represent the worst food security crisis since a famine in Somalia in 1992, the United Nations said.
“If we don’t act now, famine will spread to all eight regions of southern Somalia within two months, due to poor harvests and infectious disease outbreaks,” Mark Bowden, the U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Somalia. “We still do not have all the resources for food, clean water, shelter and health services to save the lives of hundreds of thousands of Somalis in desperate need.”
He said nearly half of the Somali population — 3.7 million people — are now in crisis and roughly $300 million is needed in the next two months for intervention.
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