Charity hails East Africa emergency appeal


Click to follow
The Independent Online

Save the Children said its East Africa emergency appeal has become the most successful in the charity's history after Britons donated more than £7 million in six months.

The appeal, which was launched in July, has surpassed the previous record of £6.8 million raised for Asian tsunami victims.

Save the Children's chief executive Justin Forsyth said the money was spent on providing food, clean water and healthcare to 1.7 million children affected by the drought in East Africa.

"Even when times are tough at home, this shows that British people care deeply about the world's most vulnerable children," Mr Forsyth said.

"They know that their help - however small - can be the difference between life and death for children facing unimaginable suffering."

One such child is Umi, a baby girl found by Save the Children outreach staff in a remote village in rural Kenya.

Mr Forsyth said Umi had life-threatening malnutrition but made a full recovery after the charity intervened.

But he said the scale of the food crisis was enormous and thousands of other children, particularly in Somalia, urgently needed help.

An estimated 250,000 people are in urgent need of assistance in Somalia, he said, just days after International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell announced Britain was providing more than 9,000 tonnes of food supplies and medicines to drought-ravaged regions in the Horn of Africa.

Mr Mitchell told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that Somalia was a direct threat to the UK's security because it was one of the "most dysfunctional countries in the world".

He said aid made "the difference between life and death" as millions across the region "face a fight for life".

The Government will host a conference on Somalia in London on February 23, Prime Minister David Cameron announced last month.

Mr Cameron said Somalia was a failed state during a speech at the Lord Mayor's banquet on November 14.