Charities highlight Horn of Africa starvation

Tuesday 05 July 2011 19.45
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Somalia - Families have a daily water allowance of two 20-litre jerrycans (Pic: Oxfam)
Somalia - Families have a daily water allowance of two 20-litre jerrycans (Pic: Oxfam)
Somalia - There are several large camps for Internally Displaced People (Pic: Oxfam)
Somalia - There are several large camps for Internally Displaced People (Pic: Oxfam)
Somalia - Some villages have gone without rain for 11 months (Pic: Oxfam)
Somalia - Some villages have gone without rain for 11 months (Pic: Oxfam)
Somalia - Maize and sugar are staple foods (Pic: Oxfam)
Somalia - Maize and sugar are staple foods (Pic: Oxfam)

Charities are urging the public to help millions of people facing starvation in the Horn of Africa.

The United Nations has warned that urgent action is needed to tackle the worst drought in the region for 60 years.

The UN says that 10m people in the region are malnourished.

The threat of famine has forced tens of thousands of people to flee to refugee camps in Kenya.

The Chief Executive of Oxfam, Barbara Stocking, described the situation as ‘dire’ but she said assistance was being provided.

Oxfam Ireland has launched an emergency appeal for funds.

Oxfam Ireland CEO Jim Clarken said the humanitarian crisis was causing acute malnutrition in children and adults. He said people's animals, often their only means of earning an income, were dying from hunger and thirst in large numbers.

'Even where food is available, the rising price of staples such as rice, sorghum and maize mean poor families can't afford it,' he said.

Last Sunday, Britain pledged £38m in food aid to Ethiopia.

Britain’s International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell said the World Food Programme aid, equivalent to $42m, could feed 1.3m people for three months and would also help treat 329,000 malnourished children and mothers.