UN Downgrades Somali Famine; Situation Still Dire

Published February 3, 2012 6:54AM (EST)

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — The United Nations says conditions in Somalia have improved enough to downgrade the country's famine.

The U.N. announced Friday that Somalia's famine zones have been downgraded to humanitarian emergency zones. Still, the U.N. says that 2.3 million people remain in a food crisis situation and still need assistance. That represents 31 percent of the Somalia's population.

The international body declared famine in Somalia last July after successive failed rains. Hundreds of thousands of Somalis fled to refugee camps in Kenya, Ethiopia and the Somali capital of Mogadishu in search of food.

The famine was exacerbated by the Somali militant group al-Shabab, which has let few aid agencies into the area it controls in south-central Mogadishu.

By Salon Staff

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