FACTBOX -Security fears, drought and famine plague Somalia

by Lin Taylor | @linnytayls | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Thursday, 11 May 2017 09:57 GMT

Zeinab, 14, (C) washes dishes as her mother Abdir Hussein gestures and her nephews play at a camp for internally displaced people from drought hit areas in Dollow, Somalia April 3, 2017. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra

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6 million, or half of the population, are in need of aid

By Lin Taylor

LONDON, May 11 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The UK government is hosting a conference on Thursday to discuss the security threats and humanitarian situation in Somalia, where 3 million people are facing famine and 6 million, or half of the population, are in need of aid.

The United Nations is seeking a further $900 million this year for Somalia, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said at the conference.

Here are some facts about Somalia's security and humanitarian situation:

* Somalia has been shattered by civil war that began when clan-based warlords overthrew a dictator in 1991 and then turned on each other.

* About 2.9 million Somalis are facing famine, and 6.2 million need aid after drought withered crops, killed livestock and dried up waterholes in East Africa, the U.N.'s World Food Programme says.

* More than 620,000 people have left their homes because of the drought since November, the U.N. says, slowing farmers' work to prepare their land and plant crops as the rainy season starts.

* Drought has led to the largest cholera outbreak in the last five years, with more than 36,000 cases and nearly 700 deaths so far this year, the World Health Organization says.

* Measles are also on the rise, with nearly 6,500 cases reported this year, 71 percent of them children under the age of 5, according to WHO.

* Some 1.4 million Somali children are projected to suffer acute malnutrition this year, 50 percent more than estimated in January, UNICEF says.

* Islamist militant groups like Al Shabaab often carry out attacks in a bid to topple Somalia's government and drive out African Union peacekeeping troops. The al Qaeda-linked group wants to impose its harsh version of Islamic rule in Somalia.

* The kidnapping of aid workers and extortion at checkpoints are on the rise in Somalia, hindering efforts to prevent the country slipping into renewed famine. In the first 27 days of April, 13 humanitarian workers were abducted, the highest monthly figure since 2011, the U.N. says.

Sources: United Nations, World Health Organization, Reuters, Thomson Reuters Foundation, UK Government

(Reporting by Lin Taylor @linnytayls, Editing by Alisa Tang. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters that covers humanitarian issues, conflicts, global land and property rights, modern slavery and human trafficking, women's rights, climate change and resilience. Visit http://news.trust.org to see more stories)