FAMINE has been declared in two regions of Somalia, and a charity from Milton Keynes is calling on the international community to increase support for the country.
Christian relief charity World Vision, based in Fox Milne, is among the leading UK aid agencies appealing for help as famine grips the African nation.
The UN has declared the famine exists in two regions of southern Somalia with an estimated 2.8 million people affected.
Consecutive droughts have affected families across the country and the ongoing conflict has made it extremely difficult for organisations such as World Vision to operate and access communities in the south of the country.
Justin Byworth, chief executive of World Vision UK, said: “This declaration highlights the desperate humanitarian crisis in the region.
“Nearly half of the population of Somalis are now in crisis. Drought after drought coupled with the ongoing conflict has made it extremely difficult for aid to reach those most in need, but urgent action needs to be taken now.”
World Vision had worked in the south of Somalia since 1992 until the Al-Shabaab group demanded they leave in August 2010.
“We continue to implement programmes in Somalia and affected areas,” said World Vision Somalia Operations Director Graham Davison.
“But we would like to extend our help to those affected by the drought and famine in South Central Somalia.
“We have been told of heartbreaking conditions of families’ daily struggles to survive in areas where we used to work, which is motivating us all to work faster to do all we can.”
Charles Owubah, World Vision East Africa Leader, said: “As a child-focussed relief, development and advocacy organisation, we are driven by the humanitarian imperative – to seek to alleviate the suffering of those most in need.
“But when those who are most in need, like so many children in the worst parts of Somalia, live in places we cannot safely access, we are unable to assist them.
“We are urgently asking all those who have the influence to assist.”
For more information on World Vision’s appeal, visit www.worldvision.org.uk