U.N.: Quarter of Somali children hungry

April 23, 2011 at 1:16 PM

LONDON, April 23 (UPI) -- A quarter of Somalia's children are going hungry as drought ravages agriculture, a U.N. official said Saturday.

Grainne Moloney of the Food and Agriculture Organization told the BBC 2.5 million people have been affected, and total crop failure in the southern region of the country is forcing refugees into Kenya.

The rains have been inadequate for several seasons, killing livestock, the basis of the rural economy.

Remittances from Somalis abroad have declined amid the global economic crisis as well.

The United Nations has only raised a third of the funds needed for food aid for Somalia, Moloney added.

Twenty years of civil war and the absence of an effective central government have worsened the situation.

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