UK raises record £7m for drought-hit Africa

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Save the Children said its East Africa emergency appeal has become the most successful in the charity’s history after Britons donated more than £7m in six months.

The appeal, which was launched in July, has surpassed the previous record of £6.8m raised for Asian tsunami victims.

Save the Children’s chief executive Justin Forsyth said the money was spent on providing food, clean water and healthcare to 1.7 million children affected by the drought in East Africa.

“Even when times are tough at home, this shows that British people care deeply about the world’s most vulnerable children,” Mr Forsyth said.

“They know that their help – however small – can be the difference between life and death for children facing unimaginable suffering.”

One such child is Umi, a baby girl found by Save the Children outreach staff in a remote village in rural Kenya. Mr Forsyth said Umi had life-threatening malnutrition but made a full recovery after the charity intervened.

An estimated 250,000 people are in urgent need of assistance in Somalia, he said, just days after International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell announced Britain was providing more than 9,000 tonnes of food supplies and medicines to drought- ravaged regions in the Horn of Africa.

Mr Mitchell told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that Somalia was a direct threat to the UK’s security because it was one of the “most dysfunctional countries in the world”.