DROUGHT-HIT Somalia has appealed for urgent humanitarian assistance to prevent mass starvation.
A United Nations report on Monday warned that around one in four Somalians are at risk of severe hunger after three seasons of poor rainfall, and experts warn the situation could worsen.
Officials said that 4.6 million people will require food aid by May 2022 with 169,000 forced to leave their homes due to shortages in food or water.
That figure is set to rise to 1.4 million within the next six months according to the UN, which has appealed for $1.5 billion (£1.1bn) in aid.
“It is an unprecedented disaster that is coming,” UN humanitarian co-ordinator for Somalia Adam Abdelmoula said.
According to the report 300,000 under-fives are at risk of severe malnutrition in the coming months.
“They will die if we don’t help them soon,” Mr Abdelmoula warned.
Somalia’s government declared the drought a humanitarian crisis last month.
“The risk is so great that without immediate humanitarian assistance, children, women and men will start to starve in Somalia,” Humanitarian Affairs and Crisis Management Minister Khadija Diriye said.