JUMBILE, Somalia (AP) _ The mission to feed Somalia came a heartbeat too late for Saynab Boar. As food and medicine finally flowed toward her village, the 16-year-old curled up in her hut and died.

''We are not strong enough to bury her,'' said her mother, Fatuma, gesturing to her emaciated husband and three young boys, their stomachs distended from hunger, who sat with her in a tiny thatched hut thick with heat, odor and flies. ''My family is dying.''

The Boars are classic victims of the malignant forces that drove Somalia into starvation and that the U.S.-led military intervention is trying to stop.

Farmers in the village of Shoa, the Boars fled seven months ago to escape fighting between two rival clans that stripped the town of its resources.

Like 5,000 other people from surrounding villages, they built tiny huts of twigs, burlap and plastic in this flyspeck of a town so they could be close to two international relief centers in nearby Gailalassi.

But the International Committee of the Red Cross and Save the Children pulled out of town two weeks ago because looters, bandits and armed extortionists were demanding increasingly larger cuts of the aid.

''The mood was getting ugly, lots of guns, so we pulled out,'' said Steven Rifkin, a field coordinator for Save the Children who toured on Monday toured the area 100 miles north of Mogadishu.

Many of the refugees stayed and waited. Families too weak to dig graves piled mounds of dirt on more and more bodies.

Village elder Ali Dini Kulmiye, who is 55 but looks 80, said five people were dying daily in the village. Ali Hajih Shizwah, a local Save the Children worker, said 10 to 15 were dying.

In hut after hut there are shrunken people lying immobile, children whose joints stand out on their wasted limbs like gnarled knots on a tree.

Hussein Elmi Kasim, 45, lay prone in a hut, an agonized expression on his skeletal face. His 15-year-old daughter, Sonkoro, lay next him. He tried to speak but only mouthed his words. His 13-year-old daughter Fatuma, as thin as a bundle of sticks, shook with malaria in a nearby hut.

In one of Somalia's terrible contrasts, as Jumbile perishes nearby Gailalassi is relatively well-fed. Although its thatched buildings are scorched by fighting, the town is filled with people clutching mangoes, leading livestock and swimming in the Sheballi River.

''There have been convoys today,'' said an impatient Kulmiye, the village elder in Jumbile. ''Why don't they bring it here? As a village elder I feel sad because my village is dying.''

''We are here, we are here,'' Italian army Gen. Gianpiero Rossi said when told of the pocket of misery six miles from where his troops camped after arriving on Sunday. ''We are coming.''