At least 136 people have died of hunger in Somalia since the beginning of March as the country has been experiencing a devastating drought that has killed cattle, dried up rivers and wells and destroyed crops. Twenty-six people starved to death in Somalia's southern region of Jubaland since Sunday, Regional Interior Minister and Drought Committee Chairman Abdirahman Mohamed Hussein told BBC News Tuesday.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who spoke about Somalia being on the brink of a famine earlier this month, said roughly six million people were in need of food in the country and called for $825 million in foreign aid to stem the problem, the New York Times reported March 7. 

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More affluent countries should do more to prevent more deaths caused by hunger in Somalia, Guterres said, warning that terrorism might emerge in the region if actions were not taken.

Residents in Jubaland said most of the towns where people were dying of hunger were controlled by the Islamic militant group al-Shabab, which wants to overthrow the Western-backed federal government and replace it with one that implements a strict interpretation of Islam.

In addition to the famine, the deaths were partly caused by the actions of the federal government that imposed travel restrictions in Jubaland in an effort to thwart possible attacks by al-Shabab militants, resulting in the prices of imported food and basic goods to skyrocket. Local residents said people resultantly can't afford to buy food to nourish themselves.

Approximately 21,000 people die of starvation every year, according to the United Nations. Almost all of those 780 million people live in developing countries. 

Somalia Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire said Somalia's famine was on the verge of becoming a national disaster when 110 people died of hunger within a time span of 48 hours, Al Jazeera reported March 4. 

Hundreds of families were forced to flee Jubaland over the weekend to seek refuge in the Somali capital city of Mogadishu. Though the new arrivals were welcomed by citizens in Mogadishu who supplied them with bread and bowls of water, the residents said international charity organizations desperately needed to send more food and supplies. One charity campaign called the Love Army for Somalia, which has raised more than $1 million dollars thanks to donations from celebrities like Hollywood actor Ben Stiller and NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, was expected to send 60 tons of food to the Mogadishu on Monday.