UN humanitarian chief warns of looming famine in Somalia

NAIROBI (Reuters) -Parts of Somalia will be hit by famine between October and December as a drought worsens and global food prices surge, the United Nations said on Monday.

The Horn of Africa is experiencing its worst drought in 40 years and experts say the region is on track for a fifth consecutive failed rainy season.

"Famine is at the door," U.N. humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths said at a news conference in Somalia's capital Mogadishu.

The indications were that famine would effect parts of south central Somalia but it was worse now than those of 2010 and 2011 due to four failed rainy seasons and decades of conflicts.

The 2011 famine claimed more than a quarter of a million lives, most of them children.

Global aid agency International Rescue Committee said on Monday that back in 2011 the declaration of famine came too late.

"People are already dying," ICR head David Miliband said in a statement. "During the last famine in Somalia in 2011, half of all deaths occurred before famine was declared."

(Reporting by Giulia Paravicini, Editing by William Maclean and Angus MacSwan)