GLOBAL ECONOMY

Drought, hunger push Somalis to flee amid fears of famine

  • In this photo taken Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017, malnourished baby Ali Hassan, 9-months-old,  is held by his mother Fadumo Abdi Ibrahim, who fled the drought in southern Somalia, at a feeding center in a camp in Mogadishu, Somalia. Thousands of desperate people are streaming into Somalia's capital seeking food as a result a prolonged drought, overwhelming local and international aid agencies, while the Somali government warns of a looming famine, compounded by the country's ongoing conflict against Islamic extremists. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh)

    In this photo taken Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017, malnourished baby Ali Hassan, 9-months-old, is held by his mother Fadumo Abdi Ibrahim, who fled the drought in southern Somalia, at a feeding center in a camp in Mogadishu, Somalia. Thousands of desperate people are streaming into Somalia's capital seeking food as a result a prolonged drought, overwhelming local and international aid agencies, while the Somali government warns of a looming famine, compounded by the country's ongoing conflict against Islamic extremists. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this photo taken Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017, displaced Somali girls who fled the drought in southern Somalia stand in a queue to receive food handouts at a feeding center in a camp in Mogadishu, Somalia. Thousands of desperate people are streaming into Somalia's capital seeking food as a result a prolonged drought, overwhelming local and international aid agencies, while the Somali government warns of a looming famine, compounded by the country's ongoing conflict against Islamic extremists. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh)

    In this photo taken Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017, displaced Somali girls who fled the drought in southern Somalia stand in a queue to receive food handouts at a feeding center in a camp in Mogadishu, Somalia. Thousands of desperate people are streaming into Somalia's capital seeking food as a result a prolonged drought, overwhelming local and international aid agencies, while the Somali government warns of a looming famine, compounded by the country's ongoing conflict against Islamic extremists. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this photo taken Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017, displaced Somalis who fled the drought in southern Somalia sit in a camp in the capital Mogadishu, Somalia. Thousands of desperate people are streaming into Somalia's capital seeking food as a result a prolonged drought, overwhelming local and international aid agencies, while the Somali government warns of a looming famine, compounded by the country's ongoing conflict against Islamic extremists. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh)

    In this photo taken Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017, displaced Somalis who fled the drought in southern Somalia sit in a camp in the capital Mogadishu, Somalia. Thousands of desperate people are streaming into Somalia's capital seeking food as a result a prolonged drought, overwhelming local and international aid agencies, while the Somali government warns of a looming famine, compounded by the country's ongoing conflict against Islamic extremists. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh)  (The Associated Press)

Thousands of desperate people are streaming into Somalia's capital seeking food as a result of prolonged drought, overwhelming local and international aid agencies. The Somali government warns of a looming famine.

The U.N. humanitarian office says 5 million Somalis, out of population of 10 million, need humanitarian assistance. The U.S. Agency for International Development says that 363,000 acutely malnourished children need urgent treatment and nutrition support, including 71,000 who are severely malnourished.

Two consecutive seasons of poor rainfall, more in some areas, have caused large-scale crop failures and high levels of livestock deaths. The Somali government warns of the possibility of a full-blown famine in Somalia. It has appealed for large-scale aid to avert an imminent disaster.

Somalia's conflict against Islamic extremist rebels has compounded the harvest failure problems.