Aid appeal launched for millions starving in East Africa

Aid agencies have launched a joint appeal to raise money for the millions of people facing starvation in East Africa.

The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) urgently needs more funding to reach those urgently in need of food, water and medical treatment.

In South Sudan, Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia, drought and conflict have left more than 16 million in the region not knowing where their next meal is coming from.

The DEC has issued a video appeal, led by Oscar-winning actor Eddie Redmayne, for help in response to what the UN has described as the world's largest humanitarian crisis since 1945.

The DEC appeal comes after ITV News highlighted the plight those in need through its Fighting Famine coverage.

DEC Chief Executive Saleh Saeed said: "Hunger on a massive scale is looming across East Africa.

"More than 800,000 children under five are severely malnourished and without urgent treatment are at risk of starving to death.

A starving girl whose family fled drought in south Somalia. Credit: AP

"We are hearing families are so desperate for food they are resorting to eating leaves to survive.

"Unless we act now, the number of deaths will drastically increase. Don't delay - please donate."

The UK Government has said it will match pound for pound the first £5 million donated by the public.

This elderly woman in Somalia shows the extent of the crisis there. Credit: AP

International Development Secretary Priti Patel said: "Britain has acted without hesitation.

"UK aid funded food, water and emergency healthcare is being delivered across East Africa right now, but more support is need to prevent a catastrophe.

"The international community must now follow Global Britain's lead to save lives and stop the famine before it becomes a stain on our collective conscience. The world cannot afford to wait."

Civil war is helping drive South Sudan to the brink of famine. Credit: ITV News

To make a donation to the DEC East Africa Appeal visit or call the 24-hour hotline on 0370 60 60 610.

You can also donate £5 by texting the word SUPPORT to 70000 or make a donation over the counter at any high street bank or post office.