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Angelina Jolie’s plea to boost Horn of Africa famine aid

Angelina Jolie has appealed to the world to beef up its efforts to handle the Horn of Africa food crisis, saying hundreds of thousands of lives depend on it.

The Hollywood actress and UN Goodwill ambassador called the food shortage in Somalia and surrounding countries ‘the humanitarian crisis of a generation’.

“Three-quarters of a million people are at risk of death in the next four months in the Horn of Africa," the 36 year-old told a meeting of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees' executive committee.

"This astonishing number of at-risk lives is the reason this is termed the humanitarian crisis of the generation. The work we are doing needs to scale up to meet the needs of these individuals," she said last night.

"How we continue to respond to the situation of malnutrition and famine is going to define the work of NGOs, governments, and international organisations working in the Horn of Africa.

"It will quite starkly determine whether huge numbers of people live or die," added Jolie.

The mum-of-six mentioned that richer countries were feeling the squeeze financially, but she urged them to "remain committed to the world's most vulnerable people."

More than 12 million people risk starving to death after the worst drought in decades wiped out cattle, crops and income across the Horn of Africa. In some parts of the region a child is dying every six minutes, according to figures from Save The Children. Southern Somalia is at the epicentre of the crisis, but parts of Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and Djibouti have also been hit.

And now warnings are coming through that eastern Sudan is also on the brink of famine.

"If the government does not do anything to solve the problem in the coming days, there will be a famine in eastern Sudan," said Salah Barkawin from Sudan’s Beja Congress party.

He said people in eastern Sudan were poor and could not afford sorghum, a basic food that has more than doubled in price.

"In August we warned the government to take care of eastern Sudan because of the rain shortage this year,” he told Agence France Presse news service. “Now the price of sorghum has risen to around 200 Sudanese pounds (that’s about £49) per bag, up from the normal price of 75 Sudanese pounds (roughly £18)."

A government official from Sudan's eastern region has acknowledged that the are serious food shortages there linked to the drought and said the government is sending food aid.

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