Africa drought: Tutu appeals for aid
Johannesburg - Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu has appealed to the international community to take action to alleviate the suffering in Somalia and other drought-stricken African countries.
A burgeoning humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa was threatening to evolve into a massive disaster, he said in a statement on Thursday.
"Between nine and 11 million people in the region are presently said to need humanitarian assistance due to a crippling drought - exacerbated by high food and fuel prices, and regional conflicts."
Tutu said the United Nations declared a famine in parts of Somalia this week
"Malnutrition is rife in Mogadishu, across a swathe of central and northern Somalia, and among Somali refugees who have been crossing the borders of Kenya and Ethiopia, often on foot, in their hundreds of thousands."
Up to half a million children were reportedly at risk of dying from hunger and disease.
Kenya and Ethiopia were experiencing what could be their driest year in 60 years.
"I wish to appeal to the international community, and in particular to the richer countries who have responded so generously to humanitarian crises in the past: Please remember Africa!" said Tutu.
He asked for the help of international agencies, NGOs, governments and individuals.
"And to the nations of Africa: Let us not stand back! Let us form the vanguard of care for our brothers, sisters, children and parents who are in such dire distress.
"May we all hold the people of the Horn of Africa, and the dedicated and compassionate people who are already involved in relief efforts in the region, in our thoughts and prayers," he said.