Olympic Legend Sir Mohamed Farah Fronts Appeal For Millions Facing Starvation In East Africa

Some 800,000 children under five face starvation in Somaliland, Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia and South Sudan because of drought and conflict.

Olympic hero Sir Mohamed Farah has told of his devastation at the drought and famine that is sweeping Eastern Africa, killing children every day.

Mohamed Farah is appealing for people to help (Photo: Save the Children)

(Photo: Tom Pilston/Save The Children)

A dry reservoir in the small town of Shire in the Kakaar district of Puntland, Somalia. (Photo: Tom Pilston/Save The Children)

After the Mirror last week highlighted the horrifying situation in Somaliland and Somalia, where Mohamed 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, Somaliland and Somalia are on the cusp of a devastating famine.

Children are severely malnourished (Photo: Tom Pilston/Save The Children)

Livestock are dying and crops are failing (Photo: Tom Pilston/Save The Children)

Around one million Somali children are predicted to become malnourished this year, with almost 200,000 at risk of death from severe acute malnutrition.

Mohamed[Mo] spent the early years of his life in Somaliland 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[now Somaliland] 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.”

Dry and arid landscape outside the small settlement of Ceelbu (Photo: Tom Pilston/Save The Children)

IDP camp outside Ceelbu, Puntland (Photo: Tom Pilston/Save The Children)

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.

Mohamed 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.”


A Save the Children mobile health clinic sets up in an area East of Qardho in the Puntland region of Somalia (Photo: Tom Pilston/Save The Children)

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 Somaliland, 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.

Mohamed Farah has now signed up to be an ambassador for Save the Children.

Donate at dec.org.uk or call 0370 60 60 610.

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