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Somalia in worst humanitarian crisis in 18 years: UN

NAIROBI — Persistent violence and a prolonged drought have plunged Somalia into its worst humanitarian crisis since civil war erupted two decades ago, with a third of its 10 million people needing relief aid, a UN report said Tuesday.

One in every five children is acutely malnourished, around 1.42 million have been displaced by violence and up to 3.76 million are in need of humanitarian assistance, said a study by the Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit for Somalia.

“Somalia faces its worse humanitarian crisis in 18 years amid an escalating civil war,” it said.

The majority of those affected are in the country’s southern and central regions which have seen heavy fighting and remain largely inaccessible to humanitarian relief efforts.

“The depth of the crisis in these areas is severe with up to 75 percent of the total population in humanitarian emergency,” said the study.

An anti-government onslaught by hardline Islamist rebels since early May has deepened the crisis, with hundreds of civilians killed and tens of thousands displaced, mainly from the capital Mogadishu.

The Horn of Africa country has been wracked by almost uninterrupted civil unrest since the 1991 ouster of president Mohamed Siad Barre.


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