UN intensifies relief efforts as Somali famine is predicted to spread

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: (Published 02 August 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d4949
  1. John Zarocostas
  1. 1Geneva

United Nations aid agencies have intensified relief efforts to help millions of people at risk in drought and conflict ravaged Somalia, amid fears that all areas of the south of the country could slip into famine.

“The deterioration is considered likely given the very high levels of both severe and acute malnutrition and under-5 mortality,” warned the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in a report on 29 July.

On 20 July the UN declared famine in the lower Shabelle and Bakool regions of southern Somalia, after new data showed rapidly rising rates of acute malnutrition and death.

OCHA’s report to donors on the aid needed for the drought in the Horn of Africa warns: “Eight other regions of southern Somalia …

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