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UN calls for talks on Africa -

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The United Nations is calling for crisis talks to deal with an escalating humanitarian crisis in
Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya.

Transcript

ALI MOORE, PRESENTER: The United Nations is calling for crisis talks to deal with the escalating
humanitarian crisis in the drought and famine affected Horn of Africa.

Famine has officially been declared in two parts of Somalia, with the rest of the country and
Ethiopia and Kenya also badly affected.

Australia has pledged an extra $30 million dollars but getting aid to where it's needed is going to
be the major challenge.

Africa correspondent Ginny Stein reports.

GINNY STEIN, AFRICA CORRESPONDENT: In northern Kenya, years of drought have changed the way these
people who depend on livestock live their lives.

These are now villages of children, women and the elderly.

There's no pasture or water here, the water dried up a long time ago.

REINTAN LEISORO, VILLAGER (Translation): The drought has affected everyone from the village. That's
why you don't see anyone in the villages. They are out with their animals looking for food and
water. All the elders are out. The only people remaining are the children. They followed the
animals. It's only us left behind.

GINNY STEIN: The Kenyan government has declared a state of emergency, but no aid is yet to reach
this far.

No sealed roads, no electricity and with a population on the move, this part of Kenya has long been
ignored by the government.

People here used to count their wealth in cattle but they are all almost all gone.

The land can no longer sustain them. This part of the world is now goat and camel country, but they
too are now dying.

ZEKE DAVIDSON, CONSERVATIONIST: The kind of livestock that has been on the land for decades and
millennia is arguably not the right kind of livestock for Africa. Cattle originally came from Asia
in the east, from the middle east anyway and weren't bred for African conditions so they weren't
really suited for this environment.

GINNY STEIN: The UN says more than 10 million people are now at risk of starvation, it's launched
its biggest relief drive yet.

JOSETTE SHEERAN, UN WORLD FOOD PROGRAM EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: I've met people from all over southern
Somalia and there's no food where they are. And what we've heard from them, I just heard from one
woman who's lost three of her children.

GINNY STEIN: But getting aid to people in need remains the greatest challenge.

International agencies are negotiating with armed militant groups to ensure aid is delivered.

JOSETTE SHEERAN: And so we're calling on the world to really back operations, to scale up very
quickly to reach those in the epicentre in the famine conditions in southern Somalia. It's very
dangerous and risky but we have to reach people. They're not making it all the way here to
Mogadishu, these are the ones lucky enough to make it here and even these feeding centres are
over-run.

GINNY STEIN: Former UN high commissioner for refugees Mary Robinson has warned there's a very real
danger of a new generation dying from famine.

MARY ROBINSON, OXFAM INTERNATIONAL HONORARY PRESIDENT: Since I was here in 1992 (sob) I look around
and I see, yet again (sob) and these are very resilient people.

GINNY STEIN: Food aid is expected to start being airlifted into Somalia within days.

The Al Shabab militant group, which controls much of the famine affected area, has denied it's
lifted a ban on western aid agencies.

The UN knows the risks, but to delay imperils the famine spreading to all eight regions of southern
Somalia.

Ginny Stein, ABC News, Lateline.