The African Union called Tuesday on the international community to come to the aid of Somalia, where one in three people are suffering from the combined effect of unrest and drought.
"Close to three million people, that is one in three Somalis, are in need of humanitarian assistance," said the AU in a statement.
"This has led to major displacements into urban areas, in particular Mogadishu, as well as in neighbouring countries.
"The chairperson of the commission (the AU's Jean Ping) strongly calls on all AU member states to contribute in whatever way they can to the alleviation of the suffering of the affected populations."
Ping appealed to AU partners and international humanitarian organisations to provide "much needed financial and logistical support" for the relief efforts in Somalia.
The AU raised concerns in April about a significant reduction in overall funding levels for Somalia over the last two years.
It said Tuesday that Ping had directed the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) "to continue doing everything in its powers to provide security for humanitarian personnel in Mogadishu, in order to facilitate access to those in need of food and other relief items."
"AMISOM is already providing limited humanitarian assistance (medical care and water) to local communities in Mogadishu," the statement said.
The 9,000-strong AMISOM is responsible for protecting Somalia's transitional powers from Shebab insurgents.
The Islamist group said last week it would authorise aid organisations to operate in the areas under its control given the severity of the drought situation.© ANP/AFP