UPDATE 1-Aid groups can't reach 2 million drought-hit Somalis

Sat Jul 23, 2011 4:25pm GMT

* WFP pondering aerial food drops

* Landmines in border areas hindering access -- WFP

(Adds new quotes, colour, switches dateline from EL ADOW)

By Barry Malone

DADAAB, Kenya, July 23 (Reuters) - Aid agencies cannot reach more than two million Somalis facing starvation in the famine-struck country where Islamist militants control much of the worst-hit areas, the U.N.'s food agency said on Saturday.

World Food Programme (WFP) officials said they were considering food drops from aircraft into some areas controlled by the al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab, which imposed a ban on food aid in 2010.

"There are 2.2 million people yet to be reached. It is the most dangerous environment we are working in in the world. But people are dying. It's not about politics, it's about saving lives now," Josette Sheeran, WFP's executive director, told agency staff and reporters in northeastern Kenya.

The drought gripping the region straddling Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia is the worst for 20 years and is affecting up to 11 million people. In southern Somalia, 3.7 million people are at risk of starvation.   Continued...

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