Mogadishu: The United Nations has declared a famine in two areas of southern Somalia as it suffers the worst drought in more than half a century. The UN said the humanitarian situation in southern Bakool and Lower Shabelle had deteriorated rapidly. It is the first time that the country has seen famine in 19 years.
Meanwhile, the UN and US have said aid agencies need further safety guarantees from armed groups in Somalia to allow staff to reach those in need.
Al-Shabab, an al-Qaeda-affiliated group which controls large swathes of south and central Somalia, had imposed a ban on foreign aid agencies in its territories in 2009, but has recently allowed limited access.
An estimated 10m people have been affected in east Africa by the worst drought in more than half a century. Tens of thousands of desperate Somalis have been trying to flee their country to neighbouring Kenya or Ethiopia.
Drought, conflict and poverty have now combined to produce the necessary conditions for famine.
Those conditions include more than 30% of children being acutely malnourished, and four children out of every 10,000 dying daily.