Death rate for children under 5 exceeds famine threshold

Severe malnourishment is having devastating effects on children in Somalia

As many as 20  out of every ten thousand children under the age of five are dying each day in parts of drought-hit Somalia.

That's five times higher than the death rate used to define an area as being in famine. Latest figures from the Food and Agriculture Organisation, FAO, show that famine in the south of the country has now spread to three new areas – Balcad and Cadale, both in the Middle Shabelle region, and areas in and around the capital, Mogadishu.

In Somalia 3.7 million people are in crisis with 3.2 million in need of immediate help to stop them from dying.

Grainne Moloney, Chief Technical Adviser for the Somalia analysis, says there's still a chance that a major catastrophe can be averted.

"Compared to the 91/92 famine it's similar in the sense that we're starting at the same point but I think we can still prevent a lot more deaths. The official number of deaths from the 91/92 famine is 220,000. We don't have an exact number for now – and we will – but we're not looking at that level now so we still can prevent a lot of unnecessary deaths."

Duration 18"

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