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In Somalia UN struggles to raise funds to avert famine

The humanitarian crisis is worsening in Somalia with more than 300 deaths from cholera and diarrhea since the beginning of the year.

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A severely malnourished child in the hands of her mother waits to be processed into a UNICEF- funded health programme catering to children displaced by drought, at the regional hospital in Baidoa town in south-western Somalia play

A severely malnourished child in the hands of her mother waits to be processed into a UNICEF- funded health programme catering to children displaced by drought, at the regional hospital in Baidoa town in south-western Somalia

(AFP/File)

The United Nations has raised less than a third of the funding needed to prevent famine in Somalia, a spokesman said Wednesday, ahead of a Security Council meeting on the crisis in the drought-hit country.

The humanitarian crisis is worsening in Somalia with more than 300 deaths from cholera and diarrhea since the beginning of the year, according to UN figures.

About $864 million is needed for Somalia this year and so far only 31 percent has been pledged, said UN spokesman Farhan Haq.

The appeal is expected to be revised soon to take into account the growing needs stemming from the risk of famine, he added.

The United Nations estimates that 6.2 million people -- more than half of Somalia's population -- are in need of emergency food aid, including 363,000 acutely malnourished children.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson will on Thursday chair a council meeting on Somalia that will focus heavily on stepping up the humanitarian response.

At least 260,000 people died in the 2011 famine in Somalia -- half of them children under the age of five, according to the UN World Food Program.

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