UN to boost aid efforts to help Somalis hit by floods, famine and insecurity

GENEVA (BNO NEWS) -- The United Nations announced on Friday that it will increase its efforts to support Somalia as the country faces the combined impact from heavy rains, widespread famine and insecurity.

Thousands of displaced Somalis have been affected by downpours during the current rainy season in parts of Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia. According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the rains have affected some 2,800 people in the Sigale camp in Mogadishu alone.

"We are seeing a worrying rise in the number of watery diarrhea cases and a general deterioration of the health situation among refugees, with some 600 people approaching the health centers daily," UNHCR spokesperson Andrej Maheèiæ told a press briefing in Geneva.

In addition, UN agencies continue to increase their efforts to help Somalis who suffer from famine. According to the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), there are currently 1.5 million children in southern Somalia who are in dire need of humanitarian assistance, including some 190,000 who are severely malnourished.

More than 100 days have passed since famine was formally declared in southern Somalia. A state of famine is declared on the basis of at least three criteria – severe lack of access to food for 20 percent of a population; acute malnutrition exceeding 30 percent; and a crude death rate that exceeds two deaths in every 10,000 people per day.

Humanitarian aid has been ongoing throughout the region, but despite the efforts, the crisis is projected to continue, indicating that famine will become widespread throughout southern Somalia by the end of this year.

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