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SOMALIA: Humanitarian crisis deepening

UN agencies and partner organisations have warned that the humanitarian crisis is worsening in many areas of Somalia. Expressing growing concern over "increasingly critical humanitarian relief situations" in the country, they estimated an urgent requirement of US $9.6 million for emergency measures to address food security, safe water supplies, public health and nutrition interventions, a UN report said. In the north, a prolonged and severe water shortage continues, with approximately 150,000 nomadic people and their livestock highly vulnerable. The worsening drought and famine situation in northeastern Somalia led Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, president of the self-declared autonomous region of Puntland, to declare a state of emergency last week, according to AFP. Though it is aware of the drought situation in Puntland and intends to beef up its distribution there, WFP - struggling with a US $15 million shortfall in its anticipated funding requirement for Somalia for 1999 - will continue to prioritise the more drastically affected southern part of the country, spokeswoman Michele Quintaglie told IRIN. In southern and central Somalia, over one million people are under threat from lack of food and water following five successive harvest failures and insecurity due to factional violence. At least 300,000 people are at high risk, including over 34,000 extremely vulnerable internally displaced persons (IDPs). The number of IDPs at Luuq camp in the south of the country has grown steadily since December, and the humanitarian situation worsened considerably, according to Kirsten Goacer of Action Contre la Faim (ACF). An assessment conducted by ACF between 18-22 March indicated that camp residents - especially children - are suffering from malnutrition as food rations, drinking water and sanitation are all inadequate for the burgeoning camp population, Goacer told IRIN on Monday. "It hasn't yet reached a crisis situation but I think it's heading that way," she said. The size of Luuq camp has more than doubled to an estimated 1,437 families since December, driven by drought, hunger and insecurity, according to ACF.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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