Olympic hero Sir Mo Farah has told of his devastation at the drought and famine that is sweeping Eastern Africa, killing children every day.
After the Mirror last week highlighted the horrifying situation in Somalia, where Mo was born, the track champion made an urgent plea for help.
After three years without rain, the longest dry spell since records began here in 1950, Somalia is on the cusp of a devastating famine.
Around one million Somali children are predicted to become malnourished this year, with almost 200,000 at risk of death from severe acute malnutrition.
Mo spent the early years of his life in Somalia and has family living in some of the worst affected areas.
The four-time Olympic Gold medal winner said: “I’m completely devastated – this shouldn’t be happening in 2017. The drought is really bad and there are millions of children at risk of starvation.
“I was born in Somalia and it breaks my heart to hear stories of how families are suffering. We have to act now; millions of lives are at stake – and young children are especially vulnerable.”
The drought is one of the worst in living memory and could be even more catastrophic than a 2011 famine which claimed thousands of lives.
Livestock are dying, crops are failing and thousands of children are severely malnourished. With poor rains expected this month, the situation is only set to get worse.
Mo added: “As a father of four, it hurts to see children without food and water, but this is a reality being faced by parents in East Africa right now.
“I’m urging the generous British public to dig deep and donate whatever they can to Save the Children so they can reach the people who need vital aid.
“We can make a difference if we come together as a country, as a nation and as a team – we can change lives.”
As many as 20 million people are in urgent need of humanitarian aid in East Africa. Famine has already been declared in parts of South Sudan and the crisis is worsening in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya.
The Mo Farah Foundation has donated £100,000 to Save the Children to provide lifesaving healthcare and nutrition to children affected by the devastating impact of the drought in Somaliland.
Mo has now signed up to be an ambassador for Save the Children.