Up to 400,000 children at risk in African famine, warns Britain

Up to 400,000 children could starve to death unless more aid reaches the victims of the east Africa famine soon, Britain's International Development Secretary warned yesterday.

Andrew Mitchell's comments, a day after the United Nations said 10 children were dying each day in one Ethiopian refugee camp, came as Muslim nations met in Istanbul to try to hammer out a plan to provide assistance to the 12 million people in the Horn of Africa who are urgently in need of food.

"The stark fact is that in southern Somalia the situation is deteriorating by the day," Mr Mitchell said while visiting Somalia's capital, Mogadishu.

"We could face deaths on a similar scale to those seen in 1991-92 if we do not act urgently,"

The famine has claimed thousands of lives, with Somalia hit hardest. The conflict raging between Islamist militants and the government has hampered delivery of aid.