U.N.: Africa drought grows more ominous

UNITED NATIONS, July 5 (UPI) -- Relief workers say the ongoing drought in the Horn of Africa is getting worse and could lead to a famine in the near future.

The United Nations agencies monitoring the situation said the flow of refugees from Somalia streaming into relief camps in Kenya and Ethiopia has been picking up, and more are showing signs of malnutrition.


"What people are saying is that those people who are arriving are arriving in bad shape," Stephanie Bunker, spokeswoman for the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, told The New York Times. "We have not heard that there is a famine yet, but … there are parts of Somalia where we simply don't know what the situation is."

The Times said Tuesday the U.N. initially feared as many as 8 million people required food assistance in the Horn of Africa. That estimate has since been revamped to as many as 11 million.

Officials estimate the situation will continue at least into next year and relief resources in the area remain inadequate.

"The prognosis is that it's going to go downhill from here," Bunker said.

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