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UN Declares Three New Regions In Somalia Famine Zones

A newly arrived Somali refugee clutches a bag of relief maize outside a distribution centre in late July.
The United Nations has declared three new regions in Somalia famine zones, expanding the area where the highest rates of malnutrition and mortality are taking place, including the refugee camps in the capital of Mogadishu.

The UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said that famine is likely to spread across all regions of Somalia's south in the next four to six weeks.

Famine conditions are likely to persist until December.

According to UN figures, 3.7 million people are in crisis across Somalia, out of a population of 7.5 million.

The UN says 3.2 million are in need of immediate, lifesaving assistance.

Somalia is suffering its worst drought in 60 years.

Getting aid to the country has been difficult because Al-Qaeda-linked militants control much of the country's most affected areas.

compiled from agency reports