The United Nations says more than 9 million people need humanitarian assistance in the drought-hit Horn of Africa.
A spokeswoman for the United Nations' aid coordination office said certain regions had been hit by one of their worst drought in 60 years.
Elisabeth Byrs told reporters in Geneva that famine was occurring in several areas, with child malnutrition rates reaching emergency levels of 15 percent.
Countries affected include Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia.
The aid agency Save the Children is reporting that about 1,300 people, at least 800 of them children, flee Somalia, where the situation is exacerbated by the conflict between Islamists and the transitional government, into Kenya every day.
Aid workers at the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya say the children are exhausted, malnourished, and severely dehydrated.
compiled from agency reports