Last Updated on February 27, 2006 by Paulette Brown-Hinds

Feb 27 (GIN) – A searing drought that has put at least 11 million people across the east African region o­n the brink of starvation risks turning into a catastrophe if donors fail to respond quickly to the situation, an aid agency warned yesterday.

Of the $574 million requested to fund humanitarian response in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia, donors have committed $186 million, leaving a shortfall of about $388 million, the aid group said, citing figures from the World Food Program (WFP).

The livestock have started dying from this drought, and now it is our turn,” Ethiopian elder Buke Arero told an assessment team from the aid agency Oxfam that visited southern Ethiopia, where livestock owners have resorted to feeding their animals the thatch from their huts.

“The situation in many parts of the region are increasingly bleak,” Oxfam said.