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Archive for Wednesday, February 15, 2006

U.N., Red Cross report worsening food crisis

February 15, 2006

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— The hunger crisis in drought-stricken Somalia is worsening, the United Nations reported Tuesday, and the Red Cross said it would step up relief efforts there and in neighboring Ethiopia.

In its latest report on Somalia, the U.N. said 1.7 million people - 710,000 of them experiencing an acute food shortage - need food assistance of some kind in addition to the 410,000 refugees who depend on food aid.

"The already dire humanitarian situation in Somalia has been further aggravated by the worst drought in a decade," the report said.

In Geneva, the World Meteorological Organization reported Tuesday that the drought was expected to continue. As a result, some areas of Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya may go 14 months without rain.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said Tuesday it would step up operations in Ethiopia but that it was especially concerned about Somalia.

"It has been reported that there is such fierce competition for water in some of the worst drought-affected areas that children have been wounded by animals fighting them for water at wells," it said.

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