UN chief: World is neglecting risk of famine in Somalia

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has warned that the plight of the Somali people has been "neglected" amid an impending famine.

Guterres, who is in the capital Mogadishu on his first field mission since taking up his position, said that Somalia's crisis risks being overlooked by the world.

The UN estimates that over six million people, which is more than half of Somalia's population, is in need of humanitarian assistance.

"People are so obsessed with spectacular crises like the war in Syria, that these chronic situations tend to be neglected," Guterres said.

People travel long distances to reach this river near Dhudo, in northern Somalia, because it still has water.

The UN has launched an appeal for $825 million for the first half of the year in order to conduct a pre-famine program.

In addition to drought and famine, diseases, such as cholera and measles, are beginning to spread.

According to the World Health Organization, more than 6,000 cases of cholera have been reported since early January. There have also been 2,500 reports of cases involving suspected measles.

The International Organization for Migration has warned that if "action is not taken immediately, early warning signals point towards a growing humanitarian crisis in Somalia of potentially catastrophic proportions."

On Saturday, Somalia's Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire announced that 110 people had died from starvation and drought-related illness.

Khaire made the announcement while speaking to the drought committee in Mogadishu, four days after President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo declared the drought a national disaster.

The death toll covers those who died in the rural areas of Somalia's southwestern Bay region where the drought is more severe than other parts of the country. It was not immediately clear how many others have died in the rest of the country.