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Somalia facing deeper crises

GENEVA, Switzerland, Nov. 30 (UPI) -- Chronic insecurity is getting in the way of humanitarian aid in Somalia, where a simmering insurgency is leading to mass displacements, a U.N. official said.

"In Mogadishu, we noted a profound change in the root causes driving forced displacement," Andrej Mahecic, spokesman for the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees, said in a statement. "While drought accounted for the vast majority of displacement in the Somali capital during the first three quarters of the year, as of October we have seen 8,300 people displaced by conflict and just 500 displaced as a result of drought."

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Much of the Horn of Africa is lingering in drought though recent reports suggest higher rainfall is bringing some relief as the La Nina weather pattern develops.

Hundreds of people, Mahecic added, were fleeing their homes to find food assistance elsewhere in Somalia.

Terrorist group al-Shabaab, which controls parts of Somalia, announced it put a ban on humanitarian assistance from reaching parts of south central Somalia.

Mark Toner, a spokesman for the U.S. State Department, said that decision put 250,000 people at risk.

"The only purpose of the humanitarian organizations working in Somalia is to save lives," he said in a statement.

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