- (Reuters/Feisal Omar)
The devastating famine in Somalia continues to spread throughout the country resulting in the United Nations to declare a sixth famine zone in the country today.
The famine is largely rampant in six out of eight regions in Southern Somalia and the U.N. Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit has indicated that famine has spread to the Bay region of the country. The Bay region serves as Somalia’s breadbasket and is one of the most productive areas in the country.
Now, 750,000 people face starvation in the country and more than half of Somalia’s 10 million people require food aid to survive.
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Association (FAO) continues to call for increased efforts to stem the food crisis.
The FAO says that the need for humanitarian assistance has increased from 2.4 million to 4 million in the last eight months.
The death toll has reached into the tens of thousands and record rates if malnutrition among children is plaguing the country.
Grainne Moloney of the U.N. Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit has said, “The rate of malnutrition (among children) in Bay region is 58 percent. This is a record rate of acute malnutrition.”
Meanwhile, on Sunday, Somali leaders launched a series of new talks to restore the war ravaged and famine devastated country.
Somalia has not had a functioning government since 1991 and civil war, political bickering, and consistent attacks by al-Shebab rebels have plagued the government, all of which have halted any chance for peace and stability in the country.
These issues have compounded to make the drought crisis impacting all of the Horn of Africa the very worst in Somalia.
The new bid will attempt to chart a new peaceful future for the country and Somali President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed said at the opening of the talks, “It is an historic day and I hope that our discussions will ring credible ideas that bring Somalia’s troubles to an end.”