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3mn Somalis need humanitarian aid
(News: 02-22-2015 )

World Bulletin / News Desk

The UN asserted on Thursday that nearly three million people in war-ravaged Somalia were in need of immediate humanitarian assistance.

"About 731,000 Somalis face acute food insecurity, the vast majority internally displaced people, while an additional 2.3 million people are at risk of sliding into the same situation," Philippe Lazzarini, deputy special representative of the UN secretary-general, told journalists in Mogadishu.

"This brings the number of people who need humanitarian and livelihood support to three million," he said, describing the outlook for 2015 as "worrisome."

The UN official added that there were 203,000 acutely malnourished children in the troubled country in need of emergency food supplements.

"About 38,000 children are severely malnourished and need life-saving medical treatment and therapeutic food," he asserted, citing recent findings by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.

More than 250,000 people, mostly children, died during Somalia's 2011 famine, which was the worst to hit the troubled country in recent history.

Somalia's southern and central regions represent the epicenter of the current humanitarian crisis, despite ample rainfall last October and December.

Internally displaced people in Bossaso Baidoa and Doolow have been among the hardest hit by the crisis.

The UN says approximately $863 million is needed to save lives in Somalia.

"It is an essential prerequisite to continue to do everything we can to address the current humanitarian needs to prevent a relapse of a major crisis jeopardizing recent historic peace and state-building gains," said Lazzarini.

Somalia has remained in the grip of on-again, off-again violence since the outbreak of civil war in 1991.

In recent months, fractious Somalia had appeared to inch closer to stability after government troops and African Union forces – deployed in the country since 2007 – drove the Al-Shabaab militant group from most of its strongholds.