UN: 2.4m in Somalia face drought

2011-02-18 11:18

New York - Somalia, home to one of the world's largest population of displaced people, is teetering on a crisis with drought now threatening some 2.4 million people, a UN official said on Thursday.

"Somalia... is on the brink of a much larger disaster due to the threat of a country-wide drought," said UN under secretary general for humanitarian affairs, Valerie Amos.

"Malnutrition has increased in the last six months in Southern Somalia and 2.4 million, 32% of the population, remain in crisis," she told a press conference, after returning from a trip to Somalia and Kenya.

"Families are set to start selling their assets, including their houses and land to get by."

Some of the people at risk are in areas controlled by armed groups of Islamist insurgents, who are complicating the situation, Amos warned.

"I cannot stress enough the importance in Somalia of finding a political solution. Only that would enable people to live in peace and dignity."

Somalia has lacked an effective central government since the ouster of president Mohamed Siad Barre 20 years ago unleashed bloody violence there.