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Emergency aid flights brave war-torn Somalia

Somalia: Aid groups ramped up operations Monday to help millions of drought-stricken people in Programme expanding its airlifts of emergency food supplies.

The WFP last week begun airlifting peanut-based paste for malnourished children in the Mogadishu and widened the distribution to Doolow in the south of Somalia.

"Another aircraft arrived today, the sixth flight since the airlift began last Wednesday - the airlift is an ongoing operation and will continue," said WFP spokesman David Orr, speaking from the war-torn Somali capital.

"That brings the total amount delivered into Mogadishu to over 80 tonnes of specialized highly nutritious food for malnourished children."

About 12 million people are affected by the devastating drought across the Horn of Africa, the worst to hit the region in decades.

The UN has declared a famine in two regions of southern Somalia but the effects have been felt more widely across the country, as well as in parts of Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda.

Supplies have been delivered through local partners in Mogadishu, Orr said, with supplies for 80,000 children for a month so far been distributed.

However, recent heavy fighting between the African Union forces and the Islamist Shebab insurgents in the Somali capital has raised fears that aid distribution could be hampered.

Tens of thousands of Somalis have fled to Mogadishu from elsewhere in the country.

Relentless conflict and the drought has left millions of Somalis in need of emergency humanitarian aid.

Malnutrition rates in Somalia are currently the highest in the world. AFP

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