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Number of people unable to meet basic food needs in Somalia falls by half: UN

Friday, February 08, 2013

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UNITED NATIONS, Feb. 8 (Xinhua) -- The number of people in Somalia who are unable to meet their basic food needs without assistance fell by half over the past six months, a UN spokesman said here Friday.

"One million people are now in that category, or about 14 percent of the population," UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said at a daily news briefing here, citing information from the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

"The humanitarian situation remains fragile, and an estimated 1. 7 million people are at risk of falling back into crisis without continued support to meet their basic needs and build up their livelihoods," he said.

"The improvements are due to factors including humanitarian support, improved food stocks in households and at markets from last month's harvest, and higher prices for livestock," he said.

"However, about 215,000 children under five are acutely malnourished, two-thirds of them in southern Somalia," the spokesman said. "The ratio of one in seven children malnourished is among the highest in the world."

On Thursday, the World Health Organization (WHO) Emergency Coordinator for Somalia Omar Saleh told journalists in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, that there is a need to ensure that more people especially those in rural areas can receive health and other humanitarian services.

The UN health agency provided more than 220 tons of emergency medical supplies including 36 blood transfusion kits, 67 diarrhea disease kits, 104 interagency emergency health kits, 21 reproductive health hits, and 15 surgical supplies kits, serving over 350,000 beneficiaries in 2012, Saleh said.


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