Photograph: A malnourished child rests inside the pediatric ward at the Banadir hospital in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu.

MOGADISHU — Fifty-five children have died of cholera and severe malnutrition in Somalia, which is currently experiencing a famine after over two decades of war, Press TV reports.

Cholera claimed as many as 35 children in the Bay region of southern Somalia, located about 250 kilometers (155 miles) northwest of Mogadishu, local physicians said on Saturday, the Press TV correspondent in the Somali capital reported.

At least 425 people suffering from various types of diseases were also taken to local hospitals for medical treatment.

Meanwhile, over 20 children died of hunger in Bay region and thousands more are on the verge of starving to death.

Somalia has the world’s highest child mortality rate, with almost one in five children dying before their fifth birthday.

The mortality rate in 2010 stood at 180 deaths per every 1,000 live births, according to the latest data released by the UN Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation.

With most of southern Somalia in famine, the United Nations says 750,000 people are at imminent risk of death.

Last year, less than a third of one-year-old children in Somalia were immunized, over 70 percent of the population lacked access to safe water, and only three out of every 10 children of primary school age were enrolled in school, according to the United Nations.

Somalia has not had a functioning government since 1991, when warlords overthrew former dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.

Strategically located in the Horn of Africa, Somalia is one of the countries generating the highest number of refugees and internally displaced people in the world.

Press TV