UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake said on Friday that the crisis in the Horn of Africa is “a human disaster becoming a human catastrophe,” the Associated Press reported.

In Somalia alone, around 1.4 million children are affected, an estimated 390,000 are suffering from malnutrition, and nearly 140,000 in the south-central region are facing imminent death from “severe acute malnutrition,” Lake added.

According to the United Nations, tens of thousands of people have already died in Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti, and Eritrea, and more than 12 million people in the region need food aid.

UNICEF has also said the combination of malnutrition, lack of clean water, and poor sanitation, along with the rush of thousands of people into the Somali capital Mogadishu in search of food, have had terrible consequences.

“There is no need for a child to die of diarrhea, yet this is a tragic reality for a Somali child, who is acutely malnourished. It is a lethal combination,” UNICEF Representative for Somalia Rozanne Chorlton said.

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