News / Africa

UN: More Somalis Seeking Refuge from Famine in Kenya

Tons of relief from UNHCR is offloaded after landing in Mogadishu airport Somalia, August 8, 2011
Tons of relief from UNHCR is offloaded after landing in Mogadishu airport Somalia, August 8, 2011

The United Nations says Somali refugees are still pouring into Kenya despite efforts to alleviate drought and famine conditions in southern Somalia.

The U.N. humanitarian affairs office says that during the first week in August, an average of 1,500 Somalis arrived each day at the Dadaab refugee camps in northern Kenya.  That number was up from July.

The international famine relief effort appears to have gained momentum in recent days, as militant group al-Shabab withdrew its forces from the Somali capital Mogadishu.

Both the World Food Program and the U.N. refugee agency have conducted airlifts of emergency supplies to Mogadishu and are planning further flights.

The U.N. humanitarian affairs office warned Wednesday that more than $1.4 billion in donations is still needed to combat the regional drought, which has left 12 million people in need of urgent aid.

The U.N. has declared five areas of southern Somalia to be famine zones and has warned the famine is likely to spread.

Wednesday's report also noted the situation is growing worse in Somalia's neighbor, Djibouti.  The U.N. says two-thirds of children under five screened in two northern regions were in need of therapeutic feeding.  

The report said that proportionally, Djibouti is the second most affected country in the Horn of Africa.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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