MOGADISHU, Somalia – Somalia's new president has declared a national disaster for a drought that threatens millions of people and is creating fears of a full-blown famine.
Tuesday's statement from the office of President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed says he has appealed for help from the international community and to Somalia's diaspora of 2 million.
Combating the drought is a priority for Mohamed, who was elected this month to lead this Horn of Africa nation coping with attacks by the Islamic extremist rebels al-Shabab.
The United Nations humanitarian office estimates that 5 million people in Somalia, or nearly half the country's population, need aid.
About 363,000 acutely malnourished children "need urgent treatment and nutrition support, including 71,000 who are severely malnourished," says the U.S. Agency for International Development's Famine Early Warning Systems Network.