Britain today appealed to the international community to step up its support for Somalia as the country remains on the brink of famine.
More than 1.4 million children in the east African nation are malnourished and half the country does not have enough food after droughts devastated livestock and crops.
After visiting, Rory Stewart, joint minister for the Foreign Office and the Department for International Development, described the situation as “utterly desperate” and said the UK’s lead on averting the famine must be followed by the rest of the world.
He said: “Britain has played a leading role in providing urgent support to avert a catastrophic famine … however, as Somalia continues to face a devastating drought, the UK cannot act alone.
“We must take collective action to stop more people dying and the international community must step up efforts to build long-term resilience and stability, in order to break the cycle of humanitarian catastrophes.”
The United Nations described the number of people starving across east Africa as the largest humanitarian crisis since the creation of the organisation in 1945. Britain has so far spent £170 million in emergency relief to try to prevent famine in the country.
“The situation in Somalia is utterly desperate and harrowing,” said Mr Stewart, adding that he was proud of the life-saving work being done by British people, diplomats and aid workers.