Sir Mo Farah, speaking as the ambassador for Save the Children, says it “breaks his heart” to hear how families are facing starvation in East Africa.
“As a father of four, it hurts to see children without food and water, but this is a reality being faced by parents in East Africa right now,” said Farah, who spent his early childhood in some of the worst affected areas in Somalia. “The drought is really bad and there are millions of children at risk of starvation.
“I was born in Somalia and it breaks my heart to hear stories of how families are suffering.”
Save the Children is one of 13 UK aid agencies brought together by the Disasters Emergency Committee to address the crisis. The DEC says at least 16 million people in Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia and South Sudan need food, water and medical treatment.
Drought and conflict are to blame for the crisis, says the DEC, which broadcast an emergency appeal on the major television networks in the UK on Wednesday. The government said it will match the first $6.1 million donated by the public. Last month, a famine was declared in parts of South Sudan, the first to be announced in any part of the world in six years.
The government and the United Nations reported that some 100,000 people are facing starvation, with a million more on the brink of famine. In Kenya, President Uhuru Kenyatta declared its drought a national disaster and Kenya’s Red Cross says 2.7 million people face starvation.
There also is also a severe drought in Somalia and Ethiopia. Saleh Saeed, chief executive of the DEC, said hunger was “looming” across East Africa. He said more than 800,000 children under age 5 “are now facing starvation and will die soon if we don’t reach them and act quickly.”
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