Ban Ki- moon on Wednesday called on donors to address the current famine in Somalia and prevent deterioration of the crisis, Xinhua reported.
"If funding is not made available now, the crisis is likely to continue and spread to other countries," Ban said.
The United Nations on Wednesday declared a state of famine in two regions of southern Somalia: southern Bakool and Lower Shabelle. Across Somalia, nearly half of the population, or 3.7 million people, are now in crisis, of whom an estimated 2.8 million are in the south.The UN has been sounding the alert for months, Ban said.
According to the UN chief, the overall requirement is 1.6 billion U.S. dollars for Somalia, and roughly 300 million dollars is needed in the next two months "to provide an adequate response to famine-affected areas."
"Children and adults are dying at an appalling rate, every day of delay will cost more lives," he said.The UN chief also noted that "in the longer term, we need to work to prevent such famines and other emergencies from occurring."
U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice said earlier on Wednesday that the United States "has been and remains the largest donor of bilateral humanitarian assistance to the Horn of Africa," contributing this year 459 million dollars, including an additional 28 million dollars that U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced on Wednesday.