Following a severe drought in East Africa millions of children and their families are in need of immediate assistance. If we act now we can save lives.

Born into a community hours East of Garowe, 15-month-old Abdi* was brought to the hospital by his mother Laylo and his father Mohamed, suffering from malnutrition and related complications. Abdi* is being cared for in the Garowe General Hospital's stablisation unit in Puntland.

The people of this arid region are among the millions that are severely affected by the drought afflicting the Horn of Africa, which is killing their livestock. Without either rain or assistance, the situation will see a loss of an unimaginable amount of lives.

An estimated 363,000 children are already suffering from malnutrition in Somalia, 71,000 of them severe cases. The Somalia Nutrition Cluster is predicting this number could rise to 850,000 cases in 2017, 150,000 of them severe, unless urgent aid is provided to the severely drought-stricken country. The United Nations has warned that more than 50,000 children are now facing death.

“What we’re seeing on the ground suggests we’re at a tipping point – a significant worsening of malnutrition cases tells us a famine isn't far off,” said Hassan Saadi Noor, Save the Children’s Country Director in Somalia.

“We’re on the verge of a catastrophe similar to 2011 – or worse, as conditions now are markedly worse than in the lead-up to that event. A quarter of a million lives were needlessly lost then, and we know that action at this stage can make a difference. The international community must step up to ensure that tragic moment in history isn’t repeated.

Already workers at Save the Children-supported health clinics and hospitals in Puntland – one of the areas hardest hit by drought in Somalia – are seeing a significant increase in severe malnutrition cases among children coming through their doors. But we need your help now. Help us make sure the lives of some of the world’s most vulnerable children are saved.