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UN: At least $1 billion needed to avert famine in Somalia.
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UN: At least $1 billion needed to avert famine in Somalia.

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. humanitarian chief predicted Tuesday that at least $1 billion will be needed urgently to avert famine in Somalia in the coming months and early next year when two more dry seasons are expected to compound the historic drought that has hit the Horn of Africa nation.

Martin Griffiths said in a video briefing from Somalia’s capital Mogadishu that a new report from an authoritative panel of independent experts says there will be a famine in Somalia between October and December “if we don’t manage to stave it off and avoid it as had been the case in 2016 and 2017.”

The undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs told U.N. correspondents that more than $1 billion in new funds is needed in addition to the U.N. appeal of about $1.4 billion.

That appeal has been “very well-funded,” he said, thanks to the U.S.

Agency for International Development, which announced a $476 million donation of humanitarian and development aid in July.

The Famine Early Warning Systems Network, created by USAID, said in a report Monday that famine is projected to emerge later this year in three areas in Somalia’s southeastern Bay region, including Baidoa without urgent humanitarian aid.

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Maxamuud Xuurshe