UNICEF and David Beckham have launched an appeal in The Mirror newspaper, in aid of the charity’s East Africa Children’s Crisis appeal.

“I am writing to you in my role as a Unicef Goodwill Ambassador and also as a father, with an urgent plea for support,” writes Beckham. "The children of Somalia and East Africa are in the middle of an unthinkable food crisis.

“As you will know from the coverage in this paper over the past few days, famine has struck in Somalia and the worst droughts in 50 years have brought millions to the brink of disaster across the Horn of Africa.

“Almost two million children in Somalia alone have been going to bed hungry for many, many weeks. Now and today, as you read this, children are literally dying of hunger.

“Every six minutes a child in south Somalia is dying from hunger. Just think about that. And many more will die in the coming weeks unless you and I do something to help.

“I never want to see Brooklyn, Romeo, Cruz or Harper go to bed without a meal. I cannot begin to think what it is like for those ­children, with not even a grain of rice in their stomachs, going to bed hungry day after day, week after week.

“They need our help. They need our attention. They need our action.

“This emergency is not limited to Somalia but reaches out across borders into other areas in the Horn of Africa such as Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Djibouti.

“The situation is grim and millions of children are in desperate condition. Their families have been tipped over the edge, their animals are dead, and they have nothing left to live on.

“I’ve been to Sierra Leone and South Africa and seen the work that Unicef are doing. I’ve seen malnutrition up close and personal and it is not a pleasant thing. I’ve seen how very little it takes to save a child’s life, but how easily they can fall ill and die if they don’t have simple things such as milk, food, clean water and ­vaccinations to stop disease.

“This is why I am a Goodwill Ambassador for Unicef. I want to help Unicef to make a difference for these ­desperately hungry children.

“By giving just £5 – often less than the price of a meal in the UK – you could provide life-saving food supplies for children who are hungry. Unicef is the main provider of ­emergency nutrition for children in East Africa, and one of the only organisations working in Somalia, but they desperately need your help to reach every child.

“What is happening to children right now is horrific. Please, please help Unicef to help those children.”

To read the full letter, click here.

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