July 25, 2011
A woman holds her baby outside a tent serving as a medical clinic in Mogadishu, Somalia, July 16.

CNS PHOTO | STUART PRICE UN HANDOUT PHOTO VIA REUTERS

A woman holds her baby outside a tent serving as a medical clinic in Mogadishu, Somalia, July 16.

Pope Benedict urged the international community to deliver urgent humanitarian aid to the drought-stricken Horn of Africa, especially Somalia, where tens of thousands have fled drought and famine.

The pope, addressing pilgrims at his summer residence outside Rome July 17, said he had been following news of the region's humanitarian catastrophe with "deep concern."

UN experts say the prolonged drought, combined with a rise in food prices, have forced many families to make long and often deadly overland treks to reach refugee camps.

"Innumerable people are fleeing from that tremendous famine in search of food and assistance," the pope said.

"I hope the international community will increase its efforts to quickly send aid to our sorely tested brothers and sisters, among them many children."

On July 16, the Vatican announced it was making an initial aid contribution of 50,000 euros ($70,000) for the victims of the crisis in Somalia.

The drought in eastern Africa has been reported as the worst in 60 years, and UN officials say it has placed the lives of 11 million people at risk.