More than half a million young children are expected to suffer severe acute malnutrition in Somalia, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) said on Tuesday, as the country faces a looming famine.
“Today we are faced with 513,000 children at risk of death. it’s a number, a pending nightmare, we have not seen this century,” UNICEF said in a statement.
Somalia is witnessing one of the worst droughts in the country's recent history that has already claimed several lives and displaced over 1 million people.
Last week, UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths announced that famine was knocking on the door in Somalia.
Addressing a news conference in the capital Mogadishu, Griffiths said 213,000 people are living in “famine-like conditions” in the Horn of Africa country.
Last week, UNICEF announced that 730 children have died in nutrition centers across Somalia this year.
"As we heard last week, children are already dying. Our partners report that some stabilization centers are full, and thus critically ill children are having to receive treatment on the floor,” UNICEF said on Tuesday.
The UN agency appealed to donors to commit long-term funding to help families build resilience to the effects of the ongoing drought.