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World Vision appeal to avert child hunger crisis across East Africa

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- A global aid agency, World Vision on Wednesday appealed for 92 million U.S. dollars to respond to the needs of 22 million people—half of them children—across East Africa facing hunger crisis.

The aid agency warned the humanitarian hunger crisis could result in the deaths of thousands of children if action is delayed.

"The window of opportunity to avert a hunger crisis is rapidly closing," Margaret Schuler, Vice President of World Vision in East Africa Region said in a statement released in Nairobi.

"We can make a difference if governments, international donors and humanitarian actors act swiftly to meet the needs of affected communities and keep children, women and their families alive," she added.

The appeal has been launched to address the rapidly deteriorating crisis that is a result of a deadly mix of drought, conflict, economic shocks and migration.

Famine is already gripping parts of South Sudan, while areas of Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia are on the brink of a catastrophe.

The aid agency said the situation for children and their families is alarming and urgent action by governments and humanitarian agencies is needed.

World Vision said its interventions will address the most acute needs in an attempt to save lives, with a particular focus on children.

"World Vision is already on the ground responding to the immediate needs of affected communities in all four countries.

"The needs are great and a slow reaction will likely see millions more affected by this crisis over the next six months," the agency said.

World Vision is providing emergency food rations and highly nutritious supplements for children with malnutrition; ensuring children have access to their most basic needs.

"This is only possible in areas where we have the ability to reach communities safely," it said.

Many more affected communities are unreachable due to insecurity within some of our response areas.

In South Sudan, where famine has already hit hard, the numbers of those needing life-saving assistance is now at more than 50 percent of the population.

Many communities in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia are facing the most devastating drought in more than a decade, with more than 15 million people in these countries without a consistent daily meal.


Britain calls for more support to drought-hit Somalia

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson on Wednesday called on the international community to ramp up support for the drought intervention measures in Somalia, noting the situation was worsening.

Speaking to journalists after meeting Somalia President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, Johnson said his country was stepping up support to Somalia and hoped other countries could follow suit as Somalia risks plunging into full-scale famine.

A massive increase in humanitarian assistance is urgently needed to avert a famine, with humanitarian agencies estimating that 6.2 million drought-affected Somalis are in need of assistance, including food, water and sanitation, health and nutrition, protection and shelter.

The foreign secretary said emergency and sustained efforts could cut off the risk of famine in Somalia and avoid a possible 2011 scenario.

Over 250,000 people perished during the 2011 famine in Somalia.

"We feel that this time it’s better than 2011; we feel that this time the response from Somalia is faster.

"So we are hopeful that there won’t be many people who will suffer and the appalling malnutrition we saw the last time," said Johnson.

Aid agencies and the UN have warned Somalia could fall into famine and the UN Secretary-General Antonnio Guteres re-affirmed that statement last week here, noting the window of opportunity was fast closing.

The UN chief said more deaths could be seen as a result of cholera outbreak that is easily transmitted given the water shortages and drought-related vulnerabilities.



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