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Again, UN warns of extreme famine, death, as drought ravages Somalia

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The United Nations has once again, warned that Somalia stands the risk a severe famine as consecutive droughts have withered crops and killed scores of livestock, while grain imports from Ukraine and Russia have significantly dropped due to the war.

The fresh warning which was given by the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, Adam Abdelmoula, on Tuesday in the capital Mogadishu, noted that “Somalia is certainly heading toward a famine, if action is not taken now.”

Abdelmoula said if the international community waits until a formal declaration of famine to act, it will be too late as many victims, including children and women, would have died due to hunger.

“We have been there before, in 2011, severe drought resulted in a famine that killed a-quarter-of-a-million people, partly because we were slow to act. We must not allow that to happen again.

“In some parts of the country, food prices have risen by 140% to 160%, leaving poor families hungry and destitute,” Abdelmoula said.

The Humanitarian Coordinator who spoke in a video he shared with journalists, said that nearly half the country’s population, about 7.1 million people, are facing crisis-level food insecurity or worse at least through September.

He added that 213,000 of them would face famine-like conditions as the situation in the south and central parts of the country is especially grim.

“The situation is especially dangerous for children under five years old. Suspected cholera cases are on the rise and at least 8,700 cases of measles have been reported. Malnourished children are much more likely to succumb to those diseases.”

Somalia has endured four consecutive failed rainy seasons, plunging much of the country into severe drought, prompting the government to declare a state of emergency and recent moderate rains have not alleviated the crisis.

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Unprecedented floods destroy 2,500 homes, displace thousands in Eastern Sudan

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More than 2,500 homes have been destroyed while thousands of residents were forced to flee several towns in eastern Sudan as a result of seasonal floods that hit the region following days of torrential rain.

Sudanese state news agency, SUNA, reported on Friday that the collapse of the houses have left thousands homeless in the already impoverished region.

SUNA said another 546 houses were partially destroyed by torrential rains in the River Nile province late Thursday as the River bank broke and the area became flooded.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in a statement on the disaster, said there were fears some people could have been swept away by the floods especially those at the bank of the River Nile.

The statement noted that since the start of the rainy season in May, an estimated 38,000 people have been affected by the floods across the country.

“So far, the areas hardest hit include Kassala, South Darfur, Central Darfur, South Kordofan, the White Nile and the River Nile provinces.

“The total nationwide death toll remains undetermined,” OCHA said.

In an earlier report on Thursday, OCHA had said that at least six people had died, and an unconfirmed number of people were injured when their houses collapsed or were washed away by floods in the Central Darfur province.

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Five killed as opposition protesters clash with security agencies in Somaliland

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At least five persons were killed on Thursday as a demonstration by Somaliland opposition members protesting over fears of a delayed election, turned bloody as security forces tried to repel the demonstrators from destroying properties.

An opposition leader said the police opened fire on the demonstrators after accusing them of not following officers’ instructions.

Hundreds of people took part in the protests across the country after talks between the government and opposition failed and the opposition accused authorities of trying to delay the election.

President Muse Bihi Abdi who confirmed the incident in a statement on Friday, said the five were killed in the capital, Hargeisa, and the towns of Burao and Erigavo in the northern region that separates the breakaway country from Somalia.

Abdi also confirmed that almost 100 others were wounded, with most of them members of security forces.

The president however, blamed opposition groups for the unrest, reiterating that unauthorized protests would not be tolerated and dissidents would be crushed.

Main opposition leader, Abdirahman Mohamed Irro, said despite the killings, protests will continue until the presidential election is held on November 13 as pronounced by Abdi.

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