The UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief has said that urgent help is needed to avert a famine in the Horn of Africa.

The worst drought in the region in decades has hit large areas of Somalia, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Kenya - aid agencies estimate 10m people are at risk.

Baroness Amos has said that there must be a united international approach to the relief effort.

Food prices in some parts of Kenya have risen up to 80% higher than the five year average, while in Ethiopia, the consumer price index has jumped about 41%.

Cattle and sheep are dying at higher rates than usual, reaching up to 60% of mortality in some areas.

Britain yesterday pledged £38m (€42m) in food aid to Ethiopia after the UN warned many countries in the Horn of Africa were facing famine following the 'worst drought in 60 years'.

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.