A child is dying from starvation every six minutes in drought-hit Somalia, shocked aid workers revealed recently.
It means that around 250 malnourished youngsters under five die each day, according to United Nations aid agency Unicef.
But callous Somalian warlords claimed yesterday that the famine was “a lie”.
They said there was just “a shortage of rain” and threatened to BAN aid from entering the East African country.
Unicef plans a huge relief mission to the two regions of Somalia where a state of famine was declared this week.
A chartered flight will begin delivering emergency supplies to the worst-hit areas.
Unicef UK executive director David Bull said: “We have stepped up our response even more as the death rate has climbed dramatically.
“We must all act now to help save lives.”
Unicef estimates it needs £62.8million over the next six months in order to reach malnourished children.
Regional director Elhadj As Sy said: “Unicef is using every means possible to reach every child.
“There simply can be no compromise. Every life must count and we cannot afford to lose more lives to this crisis.”
One in 10 children in parts of drought-hit Somalia is at risk of starving to death, twice as many as recently as March, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Wednesday last.
The situation is growing bleaker by the day, with tens of thousands of Somalis dead and more than 500,000 children on the brink of starvation.
“This is worse than 1992,” said Dr. Lul Mohamed, Banadir’s head of pediatrics, referring to Somalia’s last famine. “Back then, at least we had some help.”
Malnutrition rates were believed to be significantly higher in other conflict-torn parts of central and southern Somalia, where few aid groups have been allowed to bring food relief.
“Levels of malnutrition have reached a new peak and are currently the highest in the world,” the ICRC said in a statement.
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