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04 August 2011

Somalia's famine reaches into Mogadishu, U.N. says


United Nations (CNN) -- Three more regions of Somalia have now been struck by famine, including the capital, Mogadishu, the United Nations announced Wednesday.

Mogadishu, the Afgooye corridor and the Shabelle regions west of the capital are the latest that "have slipped into famine," U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky told reporters Wednesday afternoon. The declaration "reflects the massive influx of people into the city in the last two months," he said.

"This latest information also confirms the seriousness of the problem facing internally displaced people in Mogadishu, who require our immediate and concerted response," he said.

The United Nations issued a famine declaration for two districts of southern Somalia in June. Relief efforts are being hindered by the ongoing battle between Islamist rebels and Somalia's transitional government, which holds little sway beyond Mogadishu.

The rate of malnutrition in Somalia's rebel-held south is the highest in the world, approaching half the population, U.N. officials report.

- CNN