08/30/2011 05:13 pm ET Updated Oct 30, 2011

Somalia: Famine Is Far From Over (PHOTOS)

The holiday of Eid Al-Fitr at the end of Ramadan is traditionally a day of joyous festivities, of presents, of new clothes and abundant food. Yet as Muslims across the world celebrated on Tuesday, many in Somalia depended on the help of food rations and international aid to mark the end of the holy month.

Hit by the worst drought in half a century, Eastern Africa has been struggling with a famine that, according to the United Nations, put 12 million people in need of help. The U.N. officially declared a famine in five regions of Somalia and warned that hunger might spread to neighboring countries Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya and Uganda.

In Somalia famine has made nearly 3.2 million people, or half of the country's population, dependent on aid. 860,000 Somalis have left their homes to neighboring countries Kenya and Ethiopia, 1.5 million people are displaced within the country, and 29,000 Somali children under five already have lost their lives.

Aid organizations struggled to reach Somalia's famine victims, as many affected regions are controlled by Islamist militants.

On a visit to the Doolow refugee camp on Tuesday, head of the U.N. Refugee Agency (UNHCR) Antonio Guterres urged militants to allow aid to reach the refugees. "We appeal to all the parties in the conflict to respect humanitarian law, to grant access, for humanitarian aid to be (seen as) neutral and not diverted for devious purposes," Guterres said according to a UNHCR statement.

See photos from Somalia's ongoing crisis here:

The Famine Is Not Over