OXFAM has called on the UK Government to urgently increase funding to tackle hunger in East Africa with one person now likely to die “every 28 seconds”.

The charity also condemned G7 leaders, including Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, on their “woeful inaction” in tackling the hunger crisis in the region.

This comes as the food crisis in East Africa is expected to reach its highest level since the crisis began with one person likely to die of hunger every 28 seconds between now and July across Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and South Sudan, according to Oxfam.

Yet fears are growing that the UK government will impose a real-terms cut in funding for the crisis just two years after it brokered a deal to prevent famine at the G7 summit in Cornwall.

In contrast, in March, the Scottish Government committed £500,000 from its Humanitarian Emergency Fund to the crisis, after earlier allocating £250,000 to help people affected in Ethiopia and Somalia.

READ MORE: Church of Scotland: Westminster needs to restore South Sudan aid

Climate-induced drought, compounded by ongoing conflict and high food prices, has left over 40 million people across East Africa facing severe hunger - up by nearly two thirds from last year - with 85,000 people in South Sudan and Somalia on the brink of famine.

Parts of Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia have been hit with five consecutive failed rainy seasons and South Sudan has suffered a fifth consecutive season of severe flooding, decimating people’s ability to cope.

The escalation of violence in Sudan is also worsening the situation for neighbouring countries like South Sudan, where six thousand people are arriving at the border daily.

Ahead of the start of the summit on Friday, Oxfam is calling out G7 leaders, including UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, on their “woeful inaction” in tackling the hunger crisis in the region, accusing them of “betraying the promises they made two years ago”.

Magnus Corfixen, Oxfam’s humanitarian lead, said: “The silence of G7 leaders on the crisis in East Africa is deafening given the commitments they made just two short years ago. Their decision to cover their eyes and ears to the human cost of hunger is reprehensible.

“Every day that goes by without action means more avoidable deaths. More than 250 people are likely to die of hunger in East Africa in the time it takes G7 leaders to tuck into their dinner on Friday.

“The UK has gone from being a world leader in the fight against hunger to a laggard which is failing to live up to its own commitments.

“People are dying not because the world lacks food or money but because of political failure and injustice. G7 countries are among those chiefly responsible for climate change, so the UK and others have a clear moral responsibility to support people in East Africa whose lives are being destroyed by a climate crisis they did not cause.

“The G7 summit provides a vital opportunity for leaders to take the life-saving action that is needed. An urgent increase in aid is needed now.”