Boris Johnson visits Somalia as Farah helps launch appeal amid starvation fears

Mar 16, 2017, 00:45
Boris Johnson visits Somalia as Farah helps launch appeal amid starvation fears

The UN children's agency has warned that 1.4 million severely malnourished children could die this year in Somalia, Nigeria, South Sudan and Yemen.

Saleh Saeed, chied executive of DEC, said: "Hunger on a massive scale is looming across East Africa. We must act. Time lost means lives lost", said Stephen O'Brien, the United Nations emergency relief coordinator and under-secretary general for humanitarian affairs.

The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) has launched an appeal for aid to the drought-stricken countries of Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and South Sudan. "Don't delay - please donate".

The announcement of the Queen's undisclosed contribution comes as Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson paid a surprise visit to Somalia and Olympics great Sir Mo Farah backed a charity appeal for the cause.

About 6.2 million people in in Somalia is on the brink of starvation, warns United Nations.

The four-time Olympic Gold medal victor said: "I'm completely devastated - this shouldn't be happening in 2017".

Sir Mo said it "breaks his heart" to see families suffering in the country he was born in. In Kenya, President Uhuru Kenyatta declared the drought to be a national disaster February, while Ethiopian authorities are seeking assistance for 5.6 million people. We have to act now; millions of lives are at stake - and young children are especially vulnerable.

The Olympian said it "hurts to see children without food and water" and urged people to "act now" as its announced he's backing a United Kingdom charity fundraising appeal.

"I'm urging the generous British public to dig deep and donate whatever they can". We must make a difference to this situation.

Hassan Saadi Noor, Save the Children's country director in Somalia, added: "What we're seeing on the ground suggests we're at a tipping point - a significant worsening of malnutrition cases tells us a starvation isn't far off. The global community must step up to ensure that tragic moment in history isn't repeated".

Addressing concerns that some of the money going to the countries affected by civil war may be stolen by the government or rebel forces, he said the charities brought together by the DEC work directly with staff and vetted organisations on the ground.

Members of the public can donate to the DEC East Africa Crisis Appeal by texting the word SUPPORT to 70000, visiting, or calling 0370 60 60 610.

Video appeals will be shown on Sky, the BBC, ITV, and Channels 4 and 5.