By Terry Odenigbo
Mogadishu, Somalia (CNN) – Between 2010 and 2012, more than a quarter of a million people died in the famine in Somalia — in part because the world was too slow to react, the U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Somalia said Thursday.
Half of the 258,000 Somalis who died in the famine were children younger than 5, Philippe Lazzarini said in a statement.
The report, jointly commissioned by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and the US AID-funded Famine Early Warning Systems Network, is the first scientific study on deaths in the crisis.
It “confirms that we should have done more before famine was declared on 20 July 2011,” Lazzarini said.
The world did not do enough after warnings in 2010 that starvation loomed following severe drought. And the people who needed help the most were extremely inaccessible, he said.
Opinion: Somalia famine a ‘crime against humanity’?
“The suffering played out like a drama without witnesses.”
A massive mobilization of the humanitarian community followed the official U.N. declaration of famine, said Lazzarini, which “helped mitigate the worst effects of the crisis.”