Africa

UN says over 200,000 Somali children face starvation

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Over 200,000 children are suffering from hunger with more than 38,000 children at “high risk” of dying due to severe malnutrition in Somalia, where a great proportion of the population is still experiencing grave food insecurity after over two decades of war.

More than 731,000 people, including 203,000 children, continue to suffer from hunger and are acutely food insecure, according to a joint report released by the UN Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU) and the US-funded Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) on Thursday.

“Many children remain acutely malnourished, despite a small decrease in their numbers over the past six months,” the statement read.

“An estimated 202,600 children under the age of five are acutely malnourished, including 38,200 who are severely malnourished and face a high risk of morbidity and death,” it added.

Philippe Lazzarini, the UN deputy special representative, resident and humanitarian coordinator in Somalia, said, “Malnutrition rates remain stubbornly high,” adding, “The outlook for 2015 is worrisome.”

UN Special Representative for Somalia Nicholas Kay argued that the international community has lost its focus on the country.

He said it is “important that we sustain the attention” on Somalia, adding, “It is a concern, especially regarding the humanitarian funding.”

Kay noted that the UN received last year half the necessary aid it needed.

Somalia was the hardest hit by a severe drought in 2011 that affected more than 13 million people across the Horn of Africa. More than 250,000 Somalis died in a famine which was caused by the drought.

The African country has been the scene of clashes between government forces and al-Shabab fighters since 2006.

Somalia did not have an effective central government from 1991 to 2012, when lawmakers elected Hassan Sheikh Mohamud as the new president.

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