U.N. says famine in Somalia has ended

Feb. 3, 2012 at 8:59 AM

MOGADISHU, Somalia, Feb. 3 (UPI) -- The United Nations declared a famine in Somalia was over, but warned that nearly a third of the country's population still needs food aid.

The U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization said Friday rain and supplies of fertilizer, seed and food helped the nation rise from "famine" to a "humanitarian emergency," Voice of America reported.

The agency said, the gains were delicate and could be reversed without sustained support.

The famine was the worst in 60 years, killing tens of thousands of people and forcing hundreds of thousands of Somalis to seek food and water at refugee camps in Kenya, Ethiopia and the Somali capital of Mogadishu, an agency report said.

The United Nations defines "famine" as two adults or four children per 10,000 people dying of hunger each day.

The agency said it was stepping up its efforts in the Horn of Africa to prevent the next drought from becoming a famine.

The famine was declared for parts of Somalia in July following a severe, prolonged regional drought.

Relief measures have been hindered by the militant group al-Shabaab, which has restricted international efforts in many of the areas under its control, officials said.

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