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updated: 9/1/2011 11:27 AM

UN official: East Africa famine will get worse

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Associated Press

NAIROBI, Kenya -- A top U.N. official says the famine in East Africa will worsen in coming months but that he hopes aid agencies will be able to reach more starving families.

U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres told reporters in the Kenyan capital Thursday that the crisis had not yet peaked. He says that rains will not come to the drought-stricken region until October. Even then it will take months before there is a harvest.

Guterres says he hopes that humanitarian assistance will be able to reach more people. Islamist rebels in southern Somalia have forbidden many aid agencies to work in areas under their control. The U.N. says more than 12 million people in Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti need aid.