A new report says an estimated 43,000 people died amid the longest drought on record in Somalia last year and half of them likely were children.
It is the first official death toll announced in the drought withering large parts of the Horn of Africa.
At least 18,000 people are forecast to die in the first six months of this year.
“The current crisis is far from over,” says the report released Monday by the World Health Organization and the United Nations children’s agency and carried out by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
Somalia and neighboring Ethiopia and Kenya are facing a sixth consecutive failed rainy season.
The U.N. and partners earlier this year said they were no longer forecasting a formal famine declaration for Somalia but called the situation “extremely critical” with more than 6 million people hungry in that country alone.