UN: Parts of south Somalia suffering from famine

By the Associated Press | July 20, 2011 | 3:14 AM EDT

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — The U.N. says tens of thousands of people have died in Somalia from causes related to malnutrition and parts of the country are suffering from famine in the worst drought for over half a century.

Wednesday's statement by U.N. official Mark Bowden said malnutrition rates in Somalia are among the highest in the world.

Famine is officially defined as when two adults or four children per group of 10,000 people are dying of hunger every day and 30 percent of the population is acutely malnourished. The U.N. says those conditions exist in the Bakool and Lower Shabelle regions of Somalia.

Most of southern Somalia is held by Islamist rebels. They banned aid agencies two years ago but rescinded the ban this month.