Aid agencies are still waiting for $2 million in aid for the Horn of Africa promised by the New Zealand Government six weeks ago, Radio New Zealand reports.

The Government pledged $1 million each to the World Food Programme and New Zealand aid agencies last month, however International Development Council director Wren Green told Radio New Zealand the agencies have heard nothing since then.

Dr Green said the federal government in Australia allocated money for a similar process within 48 hours.

Mr McCully told Radio New Zealand he would not comment on the delay.

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Last week, the head of the UN children's agency warned that more than 300,000 children in the Horn of Africa are malnourished "and in imminent risk of dying" because of drought and famine.

Tens of thousands of people already have died in Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti, according to the United Nation.

The UN estimates that more than 12 million people in the region need food aid, according to the UN.

In Somalia alone, 1.4 million children are affected, an estimated 390,000 are suffering from malnutrition, and nearly 140,000 in the south-central region are facing imminent death from "severe acute malnutrition".

Somalia, which has been engulfed in conflict for nearly two decades, has been hardest hit, with famine raging in five regions.

The southern and central parts of the country, which are mainly under control of al-Shabab extremists, have been worst affected because of the Islamic group's refusal to allow key humanitarian organisations to deliver aid. Among the groups that have been blocked is the UN World Food Programme, the world's main aid provider.

Donors have contributed more than US$1 billion ($1.2 billion) to help famine victims, but UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appealed again for US$1 billion more.

"Humanitarians are on the ground saving lives," he said. "But we are still not reaching all the people who need our help, and the crisis has still not peaked."

- HERALD ONLINE, AP