The number of Somalis who do not have enough to eat has risen to five million, or more than four out of ten people, due to poor rains, the United Nations said on Tuesday, with children at the greatest risk of ill-health and death.
The figure has increased by 300,000 since February, it said, amid ongoing conflict between the Islamist militant group al Shabaab and Somalia’s African Union-backed government.
“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, conflict and access constraints as well as increased refugee returns,” the United Nations said in a statement.
Tens of thousands of refugees have returned to Somalia this year from the world’s largest refugee camp, Dadaab, in Kenya as the government pushes ahead with plans to close it by November.
Some 260,000 people died in Somalia as a result of a drought between 2010 to 2012
Five million Somalis are facing hunger due to failed rains, floods and continued displacement in the country.
Of those, 1.1 million require urgent assistance, according to a new survey by the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO).
Malnutrition levels have also increased dramatically over the last six months with more than 300,000 children under the age of five affected, it says.