Kiwis urged to help Somalia crisis

Kiwi aid agencies are echoing calls from Buckingham Palace for donations to help east African nations facing famine and starvation.

The UN says the world is facing the largest humanitarian crisis since the end of the second World War.

Desperate mothers are having to queue for help in the southern Somalia village of Dollow.

They need food for their babies, like two-year-old Mohammed, who weighs a miniscule 4kg.

In the midst of a severe drought, 16 million people are on the brink of starvation.

Now Kiwi aid agencies are banding together.

The crisis is being felt across the Horn of Africa including Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia and South Sudan.

The situation is most desperate in South Sudan, which has been at war since 2013.

There, 4.9 million people - that's 40 per cent of the population - are in urgent need of food and crops, with a further 100,000 people not just on the brink of famine, but facing starvation.

The Kiwi campaign for cash follows similar calls from the UK.

The government there is promising to match the first $8.5 million of public donations, and the Queen will give her own personal undisclosed sum.

Two other big names are also on board - British distance runner Sir Mohamed 'Mo' Farah and Sir Bob Gadolf, the powerhouse behind 1985's LiveAid.

"It hurts me seeing kids not having food, water, particularly as a father of four kids myself and seeing kids in that pain it hurts," Farah said.

Geldolf says the public can trust their donations make a difference.

"You stop people dying when you donate to comic relief and other aid agencies, you do stop it," he said.

"Be sure that this will have a profound global effect. Be sure that at some level, at some point, this will get to those governments and thugs who are allowing these tens of millions of people to die unnecessarily."

Unnecessary death is exactly what Kiwi aid agencies say we can help avoid, urging everyone to donate whatever they can - before it's too late.

The following Kiwi aid agencies are raising money for Somalia: Caritas Aotearoa NZ, Christian World Service, UNICEF NZ, World Vision NZ, Save the Children NZ, Tearfund NZ and ChildFund NZ.