The UN said the prevalence of acute malnutrition and rates of crude mortality surpassed the famine thresholds in areas of Middle Shabelle, the Afgoye corridor refugee settlement and internally displaced communities in Mogadishu, the capital. The UN last month said two other regions in southern Somalia - Bakool and Lower Shabelle - were suffering from famine, defined as when acute malnutrition exceeds 30% and when the death rate exceeds two per 10,000 a day.
About 450,000 people live in Somalia's famine zones, said Grainne Moloney, chief technical adviser for the UN's food security and nutrition analysis unit.
"The current humanitarian response remains inadequate, due in part to ongoing access restrictions and difficulties in scaling‐up emergency assistance programmess, as well as funding gaps," said the UN's famine early warning system network. As a result, famine is expected to spread across all regions of the south in the coming four to six weeks and is likely to persist until at least December 2011. Continued efforts to implement an immediate, large scale, and comprehensive response are needed."