Mon Jul 11, 2011 7:33AM
Head of the UN refugee agency Antonio Guterres walks at the Dagahaley camp, near the Kenya-Somali border July 10, 2011.
The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) has expressed grave concerns about persistence of famine in the Horn of Africa, saying that drought-ridden Somalia represents the 'worst humanitarian disaster' in the world.
Head of the UN refugee agency Antonio Gutierrez made the comment on Sunday after a visit to Dadaab refugee camps in Kenya, the Associated Press reported.
The Kenyan Camp Dadaab has been overflowing with tens of thousands of newly-arrived refugees, forced into the camp due to the persisting drought and famine in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya.
According to the World Food Program, 10 million people in the Horn of Africa require food assistance.
The UN Children's Fund estimates that more than two million children are malnourished and in need of lifesaving action.
Antonio Gutierrez appealed to the world to supply “massive support'' for the African refugees in the camps.
The UNHCR says Dadaab's three camps now host more than 382,000 people, while thousands more are waiting at reception centers outside the camps.
Somalia is worst hit in a drought that has been affecting around 10 million people in four countries of the Horn of Africa.
According to the UN, it is estimated that a quarter of Somalia's population of 7.5 million is now either internally displaced or living outside the country as refugees.
Strategically located in the Horn of Africa, Somalia remains one of the countries generating the highest number of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDP) in the world.
The UNHCR reported in April that the number of Somali refugees arriving to neighboring countries during the first quarter of 2011 has more than doubled in comparison to the same period in 2010.