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129,000 facing starvation, epidemic outbreaks in Horn of Africa – WHO

Geneva, Mar 10 (Prensa Latina) About 48 million people in the Greater Horn -Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda - are presently facing crisis levels of food insecurity, six million of them are in famine emergency levels, in addition to facing up epidemic outbreaks, WHO warned Friday.

“They are facing starvation and staring death in the eyes,” said Liesbeth Aelbrecht, the WHO’s incident manager for the health crisis in the Greater Horn of Africa. Of the 129,000, 96,000 are in Somalia and 33,000 in South Sudan, she told reporters in Geneva via videolink from Nairobi.

Around 11.9 million children aged under five are likely to face acute malnutrition this year.

“Most parts of the region are battling the worst drought in at least 40 years while other parts have been affected by flooding, leading to widespread hunger,” she said.

“We are seeing a surge in disease outbreaks and the highest number of malnourished children in years,” she stressed.

The region is facing measles, cholera, malaria, dengue, hepatitis E and meningitis outbreaks.

Aelbrecht stressed that “we know how to bring cholera under control, but we need resources”, after stating that international aid funding for this region is deficient.

WHO requires $129 million to increase treatment for malnutrition, strengthen health systems and keep mobile clinics operational to treat those displaced by hunger.

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