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  • A Somali walks away from dead cattle.

    A Somali walks away from dead cattle. | Photo: Reuters

Coinciding with Somalia's worst drought in living memory is a severe cholera outbreak.

As if the looming threat of famine weren't enough, roughly 25,000 Somalis have died from cholera in just the first three months of this year, according to Somalia's Health and Social Assistance Minister Fowsia Abiikar Nur.

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Reporting to the press in the capital of Mogadishu, Nur indicated that the most affected areas are Gedo, Bay, and Bakool, estimating that 3,000 children had already died from the disease.

"In fact, we have 25,000 patients hospitalized with cholera in these regions," Nur told journalists.

Medical staff warn that the number of ill patients have exceeded hospital capacity in the affected regions, especially in Baidoa. Nur said that the facilities and equipment at all hospitals will be improved. Based in Mogadishu, Radio de Daslan reports that many cases of death are a result of people drinking untreated water due to its scarcity.

Coinciding with the Somalia's cholera outbreak is one of the worst droughts the country has experienced in decades. Somalia's Save The Children director, Hassan Saadi Noor, reiterated, " We are on the brink of a massive catastrophe in Somalia with the death of three quarters of the country’s livestock, a rapid increase of children suffering severe malnutrition and the depletion of water stores in dozens of communities."

Many attempt to flee the drought with little or nowhere to go. Trekking with five other families carrying two recently orphaned infants, Hawa Ali said, "There is nothing where we come from. The cattle are all dead, there is no food we can afford (...) if we stay we die."

Stephen O'Brien, the U.N.'s undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs, stated to the U.N. Security Council earlier this month that the threat of famine facing, not only Somalia but also South Sudan, Nigeria, and Yemen is, collectively, the greatest humanitarian crisis since 1945.

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