UN says serious concern in Somalia as 5 million go hungry.

The United Nations has said that thousands of refugees have returned to Somalia from the world’s largest refugee camp, Dadaab, in Kenya as the government plans to close it by November

The number of Somalis who do not have enough to eat has risen to five million, or more than four out of ten people, due to poor rains, with children at the greatest risk of ill-health and death.

The figure has increased by 300,000 since February, it said, amid ongoing conflict between the Islamist militant group al Shabaab and Somalia’s African Union-backed government.

“The situation is of serious concern and comes at a time when we are already facing multiple drivers of needs, including drought and risk of flooding, conflict and access constraints as well as increased refugee returns,” the United Nations said in a statement.

Tens of thousands of refugees have returned to Somalia this year from the world’s largest refugee camp, Dadaab, in Kenya as the government pushes ahead with plans to close it by November.

Kenya says Dadaab, home to more than 300,000 mostly Somali refugees has been used as a base by al Shabaab in its attacks on Kenyan soil. Many are returning to south-central Somalia, the nation’s breadbasket, where poor rainfall has reduced cereal production to half the long-term average, the U.N. said. Over 300,000 children under five are acutely malnourished and more than 50,000 are severely malnourished, the U.N. said, appealing for additional funding to support them.

Severely malnourished children are at risk of death unless they receive therapeutic feeding.

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