A worker with the Edinburgh-based Mercy Corps charity has spoken of the horror in East Africa after meeting locals in the grip of the region's worst drought for six decades.
The charity's spokeswoman, Erin Gray, who lives in Southhouse, has been in East Africa for almost a fortnight, first spending time in Ethiopia's Somali region, before moving on to north-eastern Kenya.
She said: "This emergency is immense and very, very serious, and the crisis extends far beyond the camps.
"Thousands of ordinary families have nothing and are on the brink of starvation and death from thirst, with barely any support from the outside world.
"I have been really shocked at exactly how bad conditions are.
"The land is just dust as far as you can see and people are living in huts with nothing to sleep on and hardly anything in which to clothe their children.
"There's a huge shortage of cardboard boxes because people are feeding what livestock they have left with them. It really is horrific."
Ms Gray added: "You see people sitting on dust and children with flies on their faces; it's really upsetting. It has not rained for three years, so there's just nothing.
"Mercy Corps teams here are doing what they can, trucking water to thousands, providing fuel for water pump generators and gearing up to give food vouchers and other support, but the need is so great that it can't be enough."
Ms Gray, 29, said she had come across some "heartbreaking" stories of families in Wajir County, north-eastern Kenya, who are struggling to get by.
Among them was Fatima, a little girl who, as the eldest child in her family, collects five 5-gallon jerry cans of water every day and carries them home - a journey that can take two hours to complete.
Ms Gray added: "I also met a family of 12 who'd been surviving on one 10-litre jerry can of water for every three days. There is no water point within walking distance.
"Now Mercy Corps is tanking in water, they are happy they have more to drink, but told me, 'Now we can drink, but still we worry - what will our children eat?'.
"A community of nomads who'd settled by a dusty stretch of road miles from anywhere, as all their animals had died, told me they were desperate.
"There is no water for 25km, but they and their remaining donkeys are too weak to make the journey, and they have no money to buy water or food.
"The only water they'd had all week was a tanker from Mercy Corps.
"Their children were dusty, dazed, coughing and clearly severely malnourished."
An 11-strong team from Mercy Corps, which has its European headquarters in the Capital, has already supplied water to 55,000 people in East Africa in less than a month.
Ms Gray also recently met a grandmother in Wajir County by the name of Halima, as well as her three disabled grandchildren, who, unable to walk or speak, were lying in the dust.
She said: "Halima doesn't know how old she is. She and her family were nomads, herding around 300 goats. All but five died in the drought, so a month ago they had to settle in a village because they couldn't survive. Before, they used to eat meat and drink milk, and sell goats when they needed money, but now they have nothing."
The Edinburgh Disasters Response Committee appeal, led by Mercy Corps, is raising funds at mercycorps.org.uk.