Somalia is usually in the news these days because pirates have interfered with rich world money making, and kidnapped and murdered some brainless rich world yachters.  And the rarely mentioned truth is that some insurance companies love the pirates and have collected an estimated $600 million in increased risk premiums while paying out only $100 million to cover losses (as estimated by The Economist in one or the rare references to this bonanza).

The important news from Somalia is generally ignored.

SOMALIA: A crisis in numbers

NAIROBI, 7 March 2011 (IRIN) - One in three people in Somalia needs humanitarian assistance as a severe water crisis, linked to the La Niña weather phenomenon, takes hold across much of the country after failed seasonal Deyr rains and amid continuing armed conflict. Prices of cereals and water in many areas have soared

Here are some facts and figures about this crisis, culled from a report by the Food and Agriculture Organization’s Food Security and Nutritional Analysis Unit. [Note: 152-page document in PDF format.]

The population of Somalia is 7.5 million; of whom 2.4m people require humanitarian assistance, a 20 percent increase over the last six months:

1.46m people in central and southern areas (where humanitarian access is very limited) have been displaced by conflict;

940,000 are in a state of acute food and livelihood crisis;

535,000 are in a state of humanitarian emergency (unable to access 2,100 kcal per day, among other criteria);

45,000 pastoralists are considered destitute, up 7 percent;

241,000 children under five are acutely malnourished (up 7 percent from six months ago). In the south, this equates to 20 percent of all under-fives. Across the country, the acute malnutrition rate is 16 percent;

57,000 of these are severely malnourished - one in 23 children under five in the south, and 4 percent nationally, a rise of 31 percent compared with six months ago;

75 percent of those acutely malnourished live in southern regions;

20 percent of normal cereal crop output was produced in agro-pastoral and riverine areas of southern Somalia, causing the number of people in crisis in these areas to rise by almost 70,000, to 440,000. Deyr crop production was the lowest since 1995;

A 33-47 percent reduction in cattle prices since December 2010 was observed in all southern areas;

Since 2009, the cost of a household’s bare minimum food and non-food items has risen by 32 percent in the south. This cost fell by 12 percent in the northwest thanks to a bumper harvest in 2010.