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UN chief pays emergency visit to famine-hit Somalia

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UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres arrived in the Somali capital Mogadishu Tuesday for an emergency visit to focus on famine and the cholera outbreak, which has killed dozens of people in south and central Somalia.

Following a meeting with Somalia's new president Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo in Mogadishu, Guterres announced that the international community had to act urgently in order to avert the famine.

“People are dying, the world must act now to stop this. With the support of the international community, it is possible to avert the famine and save millions of lives. Somalia needs more international aid,” he said in a joint news briefing with the Somali president.

Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo also appealed to the international community to help his government avert the looming famine.

“To help our people who are dying of hunger and disease is the first priority of my government,” Farmajo said.

Guterres is currently visiting the capital of the southwestern Bay region, Baidoa, where at least 100 people have died from water-borne diseases in 48 hours last week.

At least 7,909 people, mainly children, are in hospitals across the country due to cholera, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

On Feb. 28, Farmajo said the East African nation was suffering from a severe drought.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) last Tuesday called for urgent action to help over 20 million people facing famine in South Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and northeastern Nigeria.

On Saturday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in a series of tweets, also called to take part in the Turkish Red Crescent aid campaign for drought-hit East Africa.

2017.03.07 / 16:24
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