(MENAFN) According to a UN spokesman, more than 213,000 people in Somalia, which has been devastated by the drought, experience severe food insecurity.
As per Stephane Dujarric, the chief spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, this is the first time since 2017 that food insecurity has reached a catastrophic level. The ranking comes after the 40-year drought's worst drought.
"Our humanitarian colleagues warn that the country is on the brink of a catastrophe with hundreds of thousands of people one step away from starvation and famine," according to Dujarric.
"Our humanitarian colleagues note that 7.1 million people, that is 45 percent of the population, are acutely food insecure and some 6.4 million men, women and children -- all Somalis -- lack access to safe water and sanitation," the representative highlighted.
He claimed that since January, at least 500 children in Somalia have passed away from malnutrition and disease. Acute malnutrition affects 1.5 million children under the age of five, according to estimates.
Dujarric also stated that "as humanitarians focus on saving lives and averting famine, there is a critical need to invest in livelihoods, resilience, infrastructure development, climate adaptation and durable solutions for Somalia.”
Following four consecutive unsuccessful rainy seasons, more than 21 million people in Somalia, northern Kenya, and southern and eastern Ethiopia are experiencing high levels of food insecurity, he said. "The likely failure of a fifth one would be catastrophic."
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