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Tutu appeals for drought aid for Horn of Africa

South Africa’s Desmond Tutu on Friday asked the international community to take action to alleviate the suffering in Somalia and other drought-stricken countries in the Horn of Africa.

“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,” Tutu said in a statement.

“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,” said Tutu.

His statement came after the United Nations on Wednesday declared famine in two parts of southern Somalia with up to 350,000 people affected in the most severe food crisis in Africa for two decades.

The extreme drought is affecting more than 10 million people in the Horn of Africa.

“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,” Tutu said.

Countries affected across the region include parts of Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and Djibouti.

“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.