About 258,000 Somali children under five years died of starvation between October 2010 and April 2012 because of a severe food crisis that resulted in six months of starvation, according to a UN report released Thursday.

The first estimates say that 4.6% of the total population in the central and south regions of the country died as a result of hunger, that is, just over 10 million people together with 10% of children under five years.

In the regions of Lower Shabelle and Mogadishu, the most affected by the food crisis, the percentage of children who lost their lives amounted to 18% and 17%, respectively.

The study, conducted by FAO, the UN agency for food and agriculture and the Red Alert Warning Network against Famine funded by the United States, sheds other data: “Between May and August of 2011 “the food crisis caused about 30,000 deaths”.

The balance is even higher than the famine that struck the country in 1992, which is presumed to have killed 220,000 people in 12 months. However, the episode is considered more serious because a higher percentage of the population died as a consequence of hunger.

The famine caused by severe drought in the Horn of Africa, last year was the driest in 60 years, has affected about four million Somalis. The food crisis was exacerbated by the catastrophic situation of the country in chaos and civil war since the fall of President Siad Barre in 1991.

The recent military defeat of the Islamists shebab -the more radical and heiress of the last government- that came to stabilize Somalia for several months in 2006, deposed by rival factions and Ethiopian troops with U.S. support, and the new election in September now present a scenario where it is expected that the country finds some stability so that a central government can provide something that has been lacking for 22 years.

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