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U.N. Says Famine Has Ended In Somalia But Emergency Conditions Remain For Millions

“Famine conditions have ended in war-torn Somalia six months after they were declared, but the situation remains dire with a third of the population needing emergency aid, the U.N. said on Friday,” Agence France-Presse reports (Vincenot, 2/3). “‘Long-awaited rains, coupled with substantial agricultural inputs and the humanitarian response deployed in the last six months, are the main reasons for this improvement,’ the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) Director-General José Graziano da Silva told journalists in Nairobi after visiting southern Somalia,” Deutsche Presse-Agentur/M&C writes (2/3). “‘We have three months, let’s say, to work to avoid another possible famine from a drought. We cannot avoid the drought … but we can avoid famine from drought,’ Graziano da Silva said, stressing the need for long-term measures to strengthen agricultural capacity,” the Guardian reports (Chonghaile, 2/3).

“Nearly a third of the population — some 2.34 million people — still need emergency support, the Somalia Food Security Nutrition Analysis Unit said,” BBC News notes (2/3). “The U.N. declared famine in two parts of southern Somalia last July and extended the famine warning in September to six out of eight regions in the anarchic Horn of Africa country,” Reuters writes (2/3). “The famine was exacerbated by the Somali militant group al-Shabab, which has let few aid agencies into the area it controls in south-central Mogadishu,” the Associated Press/Washington Post reports (2/3). “The famine was the worst in 60 years and killed tens of thousands of people,” according to the VOA “Breaking News” blog (2/3).