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UN: Nearly Half of Somali Famine Victims Have Received Food Aid

Children from southern Somalia get cooked food at a local NGO's compound in Mogadishu, Somalia, September 14, 2011.

The United Nations says emergency food aid has reached about 1.85 million Somalis, nearly half of the people in need in the drought-stricken African nation.

However, the report released Tuesday by the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said that four million Somalis remain in crisis nationwide, and that 750,000 people risk death in the Horn of Africa nation within the next four months.

The World Heath Organization says that cases of diarrhea and cholera have decreased in Somalia during the month of September. But it also warned that upcoming October rains could fuel the spread of waterborne diseseases like cholera, measles and malaria.

The World Meteorological Organization forecasts normal or above average rainfall for southern Somalia and Kenya in the coming weeks.

The U.N. has so far declared famine in six regions of southern Somalia. Tens of thousands have already died as a result of the region's worst famine in 60 years.

Around 13 million people in Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Djibouti have been affected by the prolonged drought and food shortages.

Last week, more than a dozen countries made $218 million in new pledges toward humanitarian relief in the Horn of Africa. Even with the additional aid, authorities said another $500 million is needed to address the overall humanitarian issues in the eastern Africa region.

Meanwhile, the World Food Program says it has expanded its popular online "Free Rice" fundraising program to speakers of French and Italian.

For every correct vocabulary question answered on the website, players earn 10 grains of rice, which are donated to the WFP and paid for by online advertisers.

The initiative was originally launched in English in 2007, and has so far raised almost 100 billion grains of rice - enough to feed 4.8 million people for a day.