Emergency aid appeal raises almost £18 million in two days to fight famine in Africa

Almost £18 million has been raised in just two days as the world races to avoid a devastating famine in the Middle East and East Africa.

Severe droughts and civil war have left roughly 20 million people on the verge of starvation across the continent, as reported by ITV News's Fighting Famine coverage.

The United Nations has warned the world faces the "largest humanitarian crisis" since 1945, with Somaliland, South Sudan, Yemen and northern Nigeria all in desperate need of aid and assistance.

On Friday, the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) revealed that £17.6 million in donations had been raised for its East Africa appeal since its launch on Wednesday - £12.6 million of that being from the UK.

UN officials say, however, that more than £3.5 billion is needed by July to help stave off disaster on the continent.

The UN warns that over £3 billion in aid is needed Credit: AP

DEC's Chief Executive Saleh Saeed said: “It is fantastic that in just two days the DEC East Africa Crisis Appeal has reached £17 million.

"People in the UK have once again risen to the occasion and shown their huge generosity, and for that we are incredibly grateful."

But Mr Saeed warned: “This humanitarian crisis has reached critical levels and we would urge people to continue giving to save lives and reduce suffering."

In Somalia and the self-declared Republic of Somaliland, in the north of the country, three years of failed rains have put over six million at risk from starvation again.

In South Sudan, the world’s newest nation, civil war has handicapped the country's ability to pluck itself from impending famine.

Likewise in Yemen, one of the Arab world’s poorest nations, civil war and a bombing campaign by Saudi Arabia has created a perfect storm for famine conditions.

Of a total population of 27.4 million people, a staggering 18.8 million are in need of humanitarian aid and seven million people are hungry in Yemen.

To make a donation to the DEC East Africa Crisis Appeal visit: www.dec.org.uk