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Drought, high food prices slam Somalia

Villagers in Somalia say spiking food costs, coupled with a drought that is killing vital livestock, are producing a famine that has killed hundreds so far. Cattle are lying dead in the sand and prices for commodities are out of control. The combination of civil war, a refugee crisis and foreign aid jeopardized by the fighting means the humanitarian situation in the Horn of Africa is becoming desperate. The only thing standing between many Somalis and starvation is "a thin gruel made from mashed thorn-tree branches." At least 2.6 million Somalis - more than one-third of the country's population - need assistance. That represents a 40% increase since January. 600,000 more people in urban areas "either do not have enough food to sustain their households, or have been forced to sell assets to buy food, leaving them vulnerable to further deterioration."

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