Famine receding in Somalia but war blocks aid

Fri Nov 18, 2011 3:20pm GMT

* Famine over in three out of six regions

* A quarter of a million still face imminent starvation

* Fighting along Kenyan border blocking aid

* Improvement had not been expected

By Katy Migiro

NAIROBI, Nov 18 (AlertNet) - Famine conditions have eased in some parts of southern Somalia, but an Islamist insurgency continues to disrupt aid to a quarter of a million people still in danger of starvation, the United Nations said on Friday.

The U.N. said a massive scaling-up of relief had helped cut malnutrition and mortality rates after a deadly combination of war and drought had left the Horn of Africa nation at the epicentre of a hunger crisis affecting up to 13 million people.

At one point, some 750,000 Somalis had faced imminent starvation. That number had fallen to 250,000, the U.N. said.

"That doesn't mean that the crisis is over because they are still in the critical phase and still have high rates of malnutrition and high death rates," Mark Bowden, the U.N.'s humanitarian coordinator for Somalia, told Reuters.   Continued...

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