"Africa Drought Endangers 500,000 Children: UN"

"The lives of half a million children in the Horn of Africa are at risk, international aid agencies said on Friday, as the worst drought in decades forces thousands of people to flee their homes each day.

High food prices and the driest years since the early 1950s have pushed many poor families in Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia and Djibouti into desperate need, UNICEF said.

"We have over two million children who are malnourished. Half a million of these children are in a life-threatening condition at this stage -- a 50 percent increase over 2009 figures," UNICEF spokesman Marixie Mercado told a news briefing.

Child malnutrition rates in some camps are at least 45 percent, triple the emergency threshold, Mercado said. Child mortality rates are also very high."

Caroline Copley reports for Reuters July 11, 2011.

Source: Reuters, 07/11/2011