Over 850,000 Somalis face food crisis: UN official

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A Somali girl walks down a road at sunset in a camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) near the town of Jowhar, Somalia. UN Photo/Tobin Jones

Somalia is facing a "very grave" situation with approximately two million people considered to be food insecure.

That's according to John Ging, Operations Director of the UN humanitarian agency (OCHA) who has just returned from the country.

Speaking to reporters in New York on Tuesday, he recalled that in 2011, 260,000 Somalis died of famine.

Mr. Ging said the latest assessment of the food situation in the country says there are 857,000 Somalis who are "in crisis and emergency conditions in terms of food insecurity."

"That's a modest improvement on the last figure for the previous six months which was 870,000. There are approximately two million Somalis who are considered to be food insecure. These figures are very very large. They tell us a simple message which is that the situation in Somalia for Somalis on the humanitarian side is very grave. It's also fragile." (24")

Mr. Ging said there is need "to work much harder to bring people into a place where they will be food secure."

And he, he added, there is hope that the security conditions will improve to allow people to return to their homes to rebuild their lives.

Derrick Mbatha, United Nations

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