UN warns of 'urgency' in famine-hit Somalia

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UN warns of 'urgency' in famine-hit Somalia

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The UN on Thursday warned of the “acute urgency” to help the Horn of Africa after the world body officially declared a famine in southern Somalia.

More than 10 million people have been affected by the region’s worst drought in over fifty years.

The UN’s World Food Progamme will start flying in food supplies within days and wants developed countries to do more.

“We are calling on the world to really back (these) operations, to scale up very quickly to reach those in the epicenter in the famine conditions in southern Somalia,” said WFP Executive Director Josette Sheridan.

The Islamist rebel group, Shebab, appealed for help earlier this month after promising to lift a two-year-old ban on foreign aid organisations.

The United States has pledged an extra 19 million euros, in addition to the three hundred million it has donated to help the Horn of Africa this year.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has said a total of 1.1 billion euros will be needed for the famine-hit areas of Somalia.

A state of emergency has been declared in large parts of the country, as well as areas of neighbouring Ethiopia and Kenya.