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SOMALIA: Situation deteriorating in southern regions

The FAO has warned that the food supply in southern Somalia is deteriorating rapidly, describing the situation as "very alarming".

Despite a favourable harvest in February, some 650,000 people were faced with severe food shortages with Bakool, Gedo, Bay and Hiran Regions worst affected, an FAO report released this week said.

An international journalist who visited Wajid in Bakool this week, told IRIN he met women whose young children and babies had died from hunger over the last few weeks.

He said he had returned to Somalia after a "fruitless search" for food across neighbouring Ethiopian and Kenyan borders.

Migration is described by aid agencies as a local coping mechanism, which has been affected by the regional drought.

Kevin Farrell, WFP Country Director for Somalia, told IRIN that north and northwest Bakool and Gedo had become the chief concern.

"We are increasingly concerned about the situation in that area," he said. He added that if the expected rains failed or were below average, the area affected was expected to increase rapidly, and the intensity of the crisis deepen.

Aid workers in Wajid have had to abandon assessment missions for now and are concentrating on distributing emergency supplies of unimix.


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