A major new fund-raising appeal to help millions of people facing starvation in east Africa has been launched by the Disasters Emergency Committee.
Donations are being sought to supply emergency aid to more than 16 million people in South Sudan, Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia, where drought and conflict have left them in urgent need of food, water and medical treatment.
More than 800,000 children under five in the region are severely malnourished and are at risk of starving to death without immediate treatment.
Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) member charities are already on the ground delivering life-saving aid, such as food, treatment for malnutrition and clean drinking water.
They are ready to increase humanitarian support but more funding is needed to reach the millions of people in urgent need.
The appeal will be launched today (Wednesday) and will be shown on all major UK Broadcasters including BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and Sky.
Neil Mathers, chairman of the DEC east Africa crisis appeal in Scotland, said: “Hunger on a massive scale is looming across east Africa.
“More than 800,000 children under five are severely malnourished. Without urgent treatment, they are at risk of starving to death.
“We are hearing that families are so desperate for food that they are resorting to eating leaves to survive. This is something no family should have to endure.
“Unless we act now the number of deaths will drastically increase. Don’t delay – please donate.”
To make a donation to the DEC east Africa crisis appeal visit www.dec.org.uk, call the 24-hour hotline on 0370 60 60 610, donate over the counter at any high-street bank or post office, or send a cheque.
Donations of £5 can be made by texting the word SUPPORT to 70000.
The UK Government will match pound for pound the first £5 million donated by the public to the appeal.
The DEC brings together 13 leading UK aid charities together in times of crisis: ActionAid, Age International, British Red Cross, CAFOD, CARE International, Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide, Islamic Relief Worldwide, Oxfam, Plan International UK, Save the Children, Tearfund and World Vision.
Money raised will support the efforts of DEC member charities to reach affected families and communities.