UN Says More Than Five Million Somalis Face Acute Food Shortages

  • About 350,000 children severely malnourished, according to UN
  • Strife-torn country suffers from drought, flooding, civil war

About five million Somalis, or more than 40 percent of the Horn of Africa country’s population, are facing food shortages, with in excess of 350,000 children severely malnourished, the United Nations said.

The number of Somalis who’re food insecure has risen by 300,000 since February, according to a statement e-mailed by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. More than 1.1 million Somalis are struggling to meet daily food requirements and 3.9 million need livelihood support to reduce “risk of sliding into crisis,” it said.

Poor rainfall in southern and central Somalia, where the bulk of the country’s harvest comes from, cut cereal output by half, the UN said. “The situation is of serious concern and comes at a time when we are already facing multiple drivers of needs, including drought and risk of flooding.”

Somalia, which has been embroiled in civil war since the ousting of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991, is scheduled to have lawmakers choose a new president on Oct. 30.