As the drought in Southern Somalia officially enters its eighth day, at least 114 persons have reportedly died of water-related diseases in the past 48 hours. According to a statement released by the Somalian government, the deaths came mostly from the Baa and Kabool area of southern Somalia, two of the worst-hit places.
Corroborating the government statement, local authorities in the village of Awdiinle in the Bay area who spoke with AFP stated that 69 people, women and children making the majority, have died in the last 48 hours. A statement released by the World Health Organisation has it that an estimated 6.3 million Somalis are in need of urgent humanitarian aid; while the UN reports that over 300,000 children are suffering extreme malnutrition. The statement further estimated about 70,000 of the children to be in urgent need immediate medical aid.
Somali last witnessed famine in 2011 after a severe drought was aggravated by sustained attacks from the Al-Shabab militant group, which significantly destroyed food production in the east African country. The famine recorded an estimated 260,000 deaths. The United Nation has now warned that the drought in the country could lead to another famine.
The UN World Food Program had earlier announced that more than 20 million people in Yemen, northern Nigeria, Somalia and South Sudan are at risk of dying from starvation within the first six months of 2017. A report by UNICEF estimated about 1.4 million children in Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen to be in danger of acute severe malnutrition famine as a result of the conflict in those zones which has destroyed and stalled their agricultural economies. While the predicted famine in Northern Nigeria has not yet materialised, the Internally Displaced Persons in the northeast, which has seen the majority of Boko Haram in recent years, are reported to be increasingly having a shortage of food supplies.
An extended civil war in South Sudan has seen the UN declare famine in some parts of the country. An estimated 100,000 people are facing starvation with another 1 million at risk of famine. The figure is expected to rise to about 5.5 million by July if no measure is taken to curb the war and get food across to people.