Some 1.4 million children in drought-hit Somalia are projected to suffer from acute malnutrition this year. The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), said on Tuesday the number has shot up by 50 percent since the beginning of 2017.
This includes more than 275,000 children potentially facing a life-threatening acute form of malnutrition. These children will be nine times more likely to die of cholera or measles, UNICEF spokeswoman Marixie Mercado said.
"The combination is deadly for children and can spread like fire in congested displacement camps," Mercado said at a Geneva news briefing upon returning from the central city of Baidoa.
Severe acute malnutrition is extreme, with victims often appearing skeletal and frail and in urgent need of treatment to survive.
Last month, the World Health Organization warned that the drought was fuelling an outbreak of cholera and acute diarrhoea in Somalia that has already killed hundreds of people. The warning comes as Somalia faces the threat of its third famine in 25 years of civil war and anarchy.