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Most of the deaths occurred in southwest Somalia's rural areas in the Bay region.

The announcement by Hassan Ali Khaire on Saturday followed the Somali government's warning last week that the drought amounts to a national disaster.

At least 110 people - mostly women and children - died from hunger over 48 hours in one region of drought-stricken Somalia, the nation's prime minister said.

Thousands have been streaming into Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, in search of food aid, overwhelming local and worldwide aid agencies.

The humanitarian crisis is linked to violent conflict, says United Nations chief António Guterres. "Over 7,000 internally displaced people checked into one feeding center recently".

Previous droughts and a quarter-century of conflict, including ongoing attacks by extremist group Al Shabaab, have left the country fragile.

Mohamed Hassan Fiqi, Minister of Agriculture for south-west state in Somalia, said the cholera situation was out of control and requested emergency aid from the government and worldwide community.

The last starvation in Somalia in 2011, the result of a severe drought in the Horn of Africa aggravated by the conflict with the Islamist Al Shabab insurgency, killed 260,000 people.

According to the United Nations agency, more than 363,000 children are severely malnourished, of whom 70,000 urgently need vital help.

Mr Mohamed has appealed to the global community and Somalia's diaspora of two million people for help.

The lack of clean water leaves people with no other option but to to drink from unsafe water sources, leading to the outbreak of water-borne diseases such as cholera.

The Somalian government warned that the widespread hunger "makes people vulnerable to exploitation, human rights abuses and to criminal and terrorist networks".

Local news outlet Alldhacdo reported dozens of deaths due to cholera in the town of Awdinle, also in the Bay region. But the UN World Food Programme recently requested an additional $26 million plan to respond to the drought.