More than 11 million people are estimated to need help in Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea and South Sudan and particularly Somalia, which the UN World Food Programme executive director, Josette Sheeran, called the “epicentre of the famine”.
Some mothers have had to make the “horrifying choice of saving the strongest” of their children while leaving the weakest behind to die as starving families make the long, desperate trek from Somalia to refugee camps across borders in search of food aid, said Sheeran.
Lady Amos, the UN undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs, said just under $1bn had been received from donors but “we need another billion”. Germany said on Monday it is donating an additional €15m (£13m) in humanitarian aid for the worsening famine, doubling the amount pledged earlier this year by Berlin. The US ambassador to the UN food agencies, Ertharin Cousin, said she did not immediately know if her country would be increasing its contribution on top of what it has already given. The US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, announced last week that the US will provide an additional $28m (£17m) in aid for Somalis suffering from hunger, on top of more than $431m in emergency assistance to the eastern Horn of Africa this year.