GENEVA, Feb. 21 (Xinhua) -- Drought has displaced more than 135,000 people inside Somalia since last November, and there have been reports of at least 38 deaths due to drought-linked reasons in just the Bakool region of south central Somalia, the UN refugee agency UNHCR said on Tuesday.
A UNHCR spokesperson told a press briefing that more people are leaving their homes because of the drought, rising food prices, dry weather forecasts, and ongoing insecurity and are heading for urban areas.
"Swift and substantial action and adequate funding are becoming urgently needed to avoid famine and a repeat of 2011, when some 250,000 people died, more than half of them aged below five," the spokesperson noted.
According to the UNHCR, drought is also pushing some to flee the country. Since the start of the year, more than 3,770 Somali new arrivals have been recorded at Melkadida in Ethiopia, and acute malnutrition has been reported in around 75 percent of arriving child refugees.
UNHCR estimated that in order to help the needy, an urgent funding of 825 million U.S. dollars will be needed before June, but until now only 100 million U.S. dollars has been pledged.