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Millions hungry as drought grips Somalia: charity

AFP  |  Nairobi 

has left nearly two million in desperate need of food, a humanitarian agency warned Monday, as poor rainfall pushes communities to the brink across East

The said hundreds of thousands of children were already suffering malnutrition in and millions had abandoned their homes in search of in the arid, conflict-torn nation.

"The humanitarian situation has deteriorated at an alarming rate as a result of the drought," Victor Moses, the council's in Somalia, said in a statement.

The failure of the so-called long rains that usually sweep East between March and May has caused widespread crop failures and heaped immense pressure on livestock-dependent communities in the greater region.

is enduring its third-driest long rains season since 1981.

The estimates that 1.7 million people are going hungry, with that figure expected to grow by another half a million come July.

Last week, the UN said 44,000 had left their homes in rural areas for urban centres just this year -- joining the estimated 2.6 million internally-displaced people across the country.

Close to a million children will need treatment for malnutrition in 2019.

"The deterioration has come much earlier than seen over the last decades and before affected communities could recover from the most recent drought," the said.

But the hunger crisis could extend well beyond Somalia, with the entire Horn of region at risk from and extreme weather exacerbated by climate change. Almost 80 percent of the population in the Horn depend on farming for a living, said the and Agriculture Organization.

The Famine Early Warning Systems Network said in April that if rains did not materialise in May "the season will have failed and the impact on security outcomes would be more severe than currently anticipated".

The US-funded network warned more than 42 million people in Ethiopia, South Sudan, Somalia, Sudan, Kenya, and nearby were currently facing crisis levels of

In Kenya, considered the most dynamic economy in the region, the in April cited the impact of when trimming its growth forecast for the country in 2019.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, May 06 2019. 17:50 IST