NAIROBI, Jan. 30 (Xinhua) -- More than 5.5 million people were displaced across the Horn of Africa by the end of December 2017, including around 4.1 million internally displaced and 1.4 million living in the region as refugees and asylum seekers, the UN said in a report released on Tuesday.
The UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in its humanitarian outlook that the Horn of Africa remains a major migration transit route including to and from the Arabian Peninsula and to Europe.
"The Horn of Africa is both the host and the source of significant population displacement and mixed migration movements, and this is expected to continue in the first six months of 2018," said OCHA.
"The combination of drought, conflict and insecurity have worsened protection concerns, with violations against civilians, including sexual and gender-based violence as well as against children, expected to continue in the months ahead," it said.
According to the report, in addition to climatic shocks -- and in some instances compounded or driven by them -- conflict, insecurity and political instability remain important drivers of humanitarian need in the region.
The report said food insecurity escalated by 36 percent in 2017, leaving 14.6 million people severely food insecure by the end of the year.
The report said humanitarian needs in the Horn of Africa remain high, driven by climatic shocks, conflict, insecurity and political instability.
The region is expected to remain the epicenter of food insecurity and malnutrition in the first six months of 2018, said the UN.
"Across the Horn of Africa, nearly 5.2 million children and women were estimated to be acutely malnourished by the end of 2017 and 639,718 severely malnourished children were admitted for treatment during the year," it said.
In Somalia, the report said, 1.2 million children and pregnant and lactating women (PLW) are projected to suffer from acute malnutrition from September 2017 to September, including 230,000 children who are projected to be severely acutely malnourished (SAM) during this period.
"In Ethiopia, 3.6 million children and pregnant and lactating women (PLW) were acutely malnourished in 2017," said the UN.
In Kenya, the report said, 370,000 children required treatment for acute malnutrition in the drought-affected Arid and Semi-Arid Land areas as of the end of 2017.