Nairobi: The top UN relief official for Somalia appealed to the international community to provide urgent funding to help aid agencies which provide emergency food assistance to Somalis.

Philippe Lazzarini, UN resident humanitarian coordinator in Somalia, warned in a statement issued in Nairobi that the Horn of Africa nation risked drifting into a humanitarian crisis due to a fragile food situation, a spike in diseases and insecurity, Xinhua reported.

“Funding is urgently needed today so that aid agencies can provide food, livelihood resources, health assistance and nutritional support to people in the worst-affected areas,” Lazzarini said.

He said a gap of about $700 million is still required to be filled to provide humanitarian assistance until the end of 2014, to 2.9 million people who are struggling to feed themselves.