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UN chief in Somalia on emergency visit to focus on famine

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has started what he calls an emergency visit to Somalia to focus on the country’s famine crisis.

“People are dying. The world must act now to stop this,” said the U.N. chief on Twitter to announce his arrival in this Horn of Africa nation.

“We need to make as much noise as possible,” said Guterres as his plane touched down in Mogadishu. “Conflict, drought, climate change, disease, cholera. The combination is a nightmare.”

The U.N. leader urged international support to provide food and humanitarian aid to Somalia. “This hunger requires a massive response,” he said.

Guterres is to meet Somalia’s newly elected President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed at the airport.

“I am bringing a message of solidarity to the president. A message of support,” said Guterres. “Let’s hope he can start and inclusive government.”

Somalia is part of a massive $4 billion aid appeal launched last month for four nations suffering from conflict and hunger. The others are Nigeria, Yemen and South Sudan, where famine already has been declared.

Somalia over the weekend announced its first death toll since declaring a national disaster last week, saying 110 people had died in a 48-hour period in a single region.

The United Nations estimates that 5 million people in Somalia need aid, amid warnings of a famine.

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