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DOLO, Somalia — Somalia’s famine will be five times worse by Christmas unless the global community increases its food aid, Australia’s foreign minister said yesterday.

Kevin Rudd was in Somalia’s famine-struck area of Dolo to appeal to the world to help avoid a catastrophe. During his visit, hundreds of women with small children in tow massed around a sign-up table in hopes of qualifying for food aid.

World Food Program Executive Director Josette Sheeran said it’s critical that the WFP gets new funding to fight the three-pronged catastrophe of drought, conflict and high food prices.

The WFP estimates more than 11.3 million people need aid across drought-hit regions in East Africa.

The United Nations fears tens of thousands of people already have died in the famine in Somalia. Mothers are being forced to leave behind their weak children to die as they walk for days trying to reach refugee camps in Kenya and Ethiopia.

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Somalia dying in world’s worst famine in 20 years

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