Famine feared in 8 areas of Somalia in 2 months: UN

UNITED NATIONS, July 6 (Xinhua) -- With more than 200,000 people already in catastrophic food insecurity, famine is feared by September in Somalia, a UN spokesman said on Wednesday.

Due to the Horn of Africa drought, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) believes that there will be famine in eight areas of the country within two months, said Stephane Dujarric, chief spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. The level of food insecurity has been the worst since 2017 and is not expected to improve for a year.

"Our humanitarian colleagues warn that more than 7 million people are already impacted by the severe drought, up from nearly 6 million in May," Dujarric said. "More than 800,000 have left their homes in search of food, water and pasture."

He said that at least 200 children have died of malnutrition and disease since January and an estimated 1.5 million children under the age of 5 face acute malnutrition.

"Late last month, our partners launched the Drought Response and Famine Prevention Plan to provide life-saving assistance and prevent famine in Somalia," the spokesman said. "The plan calls for nearly 1 billion U.S. dollars to reach 6.4 million people through the end of the year."

Separately, the Humanitarian Response Plan for Somalia, which calls for 1.46 billion U.S. dollars to help 5.5 million people, is only 30 percent funded, he told a regular briefing. Almost 4 million people have received assistance since January.

"We need greater resources to meet growing needs and avert famine," Dujarric said.