The longest recorded drought in Somalia has killed tens of thousands of people (Photo: AP)

Up to 43,000 people are said to have died from the drought in the Horn of Africa.

At least half of those deaths were likely children under the age of five, according to a new report from Unicef ​​and the World Health Organization.

It is the first official death toll from the drought as Somalia enters its sixth consecutive failed rainy season in Somalia.

UNICEF Representative Wafaa Saaed said: “These results paint a grim picture of the devastation the drought has wreaked on children and their families.”

WHO Representative in Somalia, Dr Mamunur Rahman Malik added: “We are running against time to prevent fatalities.

“The price of our inaction will mean that children, women and other vulnerable people will pay with their lives as we stand hopeless and helpless as the tragedy unfolds.”

It follows warnings from UN officials about governments focusing most of their humanitarian efforts on Ukraine.

The drought was exacerbated by widespread food shortages (Photo: Anadolu)

TILE - A Somali woman and child wait for a place to settle in a displaced persons camp on the outskirts of Dollow, Somalia, Tuesday, September 20, 2022. An estimated 43,000 people died last year amid the longest drought on record, according to a new report in Somalia, and half of them would have been children.  (AP Photo/Jerome Delay, file)

A woman and her children wait for a spot in an improvised camp on the outskirts of Dollow, Somalia (Photo: AP)

At least another 18,000 deaths are predicted by the middle of this year as widespread food shortages exacerbate the drought crisis.

In Somalia alone, more than six million people are suffering from acute hunger, and nearly 500,000 children are expected to be severely malnourished this year.

Some humanitarian officials have warned that if current trends continue, the growing disaster could prove worse than the 2011 famine, which claimed a quarter of a million lives.