Posted at 12:48 PM ET, 07/12/2011

East Africa facing ‘worst humanitarian disaster’ in the world

Two-year-old Aden Salaad, sits in a tub as he is bathed by his mother at a Doctors Without Borders hospital, where he is receiving treatment for malnutrition outside Dadaab, Kenya, July 11. (Rebecca Blackwell - AP)
United Nations officials warned Tuesday of a worsening humanitarian crisis in East Africa caused by the worst regional drought in 60 years and ongoing fighting in Somalia.

The U.N. children's agency, UNICEF, said malnutrition and exhaustion from long journeys on foot have put 65,000 children in Kenya alone at acute risk of dying. Somalia now has one in six children die before their fifth birthday.

The World Health Organization simultaneously warned that the increased movement of people and lack of sanitation in overcrowded camps and towns is increasing the risk of typhoid, cholera and measles epidemics.

WHO estimates that 10 million people in northern Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia, Eritrea and South Sudan require emergency assistance.

The U.N.'s refugee agency chief, Antonio Guterres, called it the “worst humanitarian disaster in the world.”

(Via the Associated Press)

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