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Iran Press TV

UN says over 58,000 Somali children risk starving to death

Iran Press TV

Mon Feb 8, 2016 5:21PM

The United Nations (UN) has warned that over 58,000 children would starve to death in Somalia if they are not provided with urgent humanitarian assistance.

UN aid chief for Somalia Peter de Clercq said on Monday that more than 300,000 children under the age of five are acutely malnourished. The UN official also said that they urgently need medical, food, and other humanitarian support.

'The level of malnutrition, especially among children, is of serious concern, with nearly 305,000 children under the age of five years acutely malnourished,' the official said, adding, 'We estimate that 58,300 children face death if they are not treated.'

The UN has said that nearly one million people are struggling every day to meet their food needs.

According to the world body, 4.7 million people, or nearly 40 percent of Somalia, stand in need of humanitarian aid.

The grim assessment comes as severe drought continues to hit several regions in the impoverished war-torn country.

Northern Somali areas are especially hard hit by the ongoing drought. The drought has been exacerbated by by an exceptionally strong El Nino weather pattern.

'The food security and malnutrition situation in Somalia is alarming, especially in parts of Puntland and Somaliland, which have been hard hit by drought exacerbated by El Nino,' the UN said in a statement, adding 'We are deeply concerned...with severe drought conditions intensifying in Puntland and Somaliland, many more people risk relapsing into crisis.'

The UN has also appealed for urgent support and humanitarian assistance. The world body is calling for USD 885 million in aid to assist people in conflict- and disaster-affected regions.

Nearly four years ago, intense drought and war sparked a famine, killing more than a quarter of a million people across the war-torn Horn of Africa country.

The international community has failed to tackle the famine crisis due to the ongoing war and internal conflicts in the African country.

The developments come as 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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