The United Nations in Somalia warned that tens of thousands of people will have died of starvation by the time the famine in the Horn of Africa ends. The food crisis was declared in Somalia six months ago and levels of need are expected to remain high until July or August. UN aid chief in Somalia Mark Bowden told the (BBC) that malnutrition rates there were the highest in the world. He said a quarter of a million Somalis were still suffering from the famine. "We know that tens of thousands of people will have died over the last year," Bowden, said, describing the rates of malnutrition as "amazingly high". "Children will have suffered the most, malnutrition rates in Somalia were the highest in the world, and I think the highest recorded... up to 50% of the child population suffered from severe or acute malnutrition." Bowden said malnutrition rates have begun to drop but the crisis was likely to continue for the next six or seven months. "Fortunately they''ve started to come down across the board, but that does mean that there will have been a very high mortality," he said. Somalia has not had a functioning central government for more than 20 years and has been wracked by fighting between militias.