AID workers yesterday told of the "unimaginable hell" unfolding in it emerged that 1,500 starving people are arriving at refugee camps every day.

Some have trekked barefoot through the scorched scrubland for 22 daysto get food and water as East Africais gripped by its worst drought in 60 years.

But many die within hours of arriving, meaning the sprawling camps are quickly turning into graveyards.

More than 10 million people are ­estimated to be at risk of starvation in Ethiopia, Somalia and northern Kenya, which the UN says are experiencing pre-famine conditions.

Yet, as rising numbers of people in the Horn of Africa leave their homes in search of help, humanitarian charities say the world isn't listening. They have warned hundreds of ­millions of pounds of extra aid is ­urgently needed to stop the suffering.

The heartbreaking scale of the crisis is most acutely seen at the Dadaab refugee camp on the Kenyan border. The 19-mile wide camp is home to more than 370,000 people, the population of British towns like Reading or Middlesborough.

Two years ago when Africa suffered its last major drought, 158,000 refugees flocked to this camp.

Now, with more than 1,500 arriving each day it is predicted that it will swell to nearly half a million people by the end of the month, and it is quickly ­becoming overwhelmed.

Women and children are dying from hunger and thirst as they stand queueing for food and water. Under fives are at risk from malnutitrion and diseases such as pneumonia and diarrhoea.

"It's a matter of life and death," says Weheleey Osman Haji, 33, a day after giving birth near Kenyan border town Liboi. She and her five other children arrived in Kenya after trekking for three weeks from their homeland in Somalia. She has named her baby Iisha, which translates as "life".

Weheleey says: "We have been walking for 22 days drinking only water. Since I delivered, I haven't eaten a thing. I now need food, life, water and shelter - everything a human being needs."

There are many mothers like ­Weheleey. One of them told how she left her sick child on the road because he was too weak to make the journey to Kenya.

Burdened by other small children, she left him in the desert. "His eyes still haunt me to this day," she said.

Yesterday, Geoffrey Dennis, chief executive of Care International, said many women and children were dying. Speaking inside the Kenyan camp he told the Sunday Mirror: ­"People here urgently need more help.

"It is a scene of unimaginable hell. Many who arrive are women and children who have walked more than 20 days in 100 degree heat to get here. I've heard reports of many people dying as they arrive. Others, who are rushed to be given medical assistance, don't make it. More and more people are arriving every day and there simply isn't enough food, water or medical supplies.

"It is a desperate situation and we need governments across the planet to donate money to help." Britain has so far pledged £38million in aid - but campaigners say more is needed.

As the drought bites, hundreds of thousands of farm animals have died, leaving many Africans without any livestock. The lack of rain has resulted in failed crops leading to ­dramatic increases in the price of food and water.

In some areas the cost of grain is double that of a year ago. Brendan Gormley, of the Disasters Emergency Committee, denied aid agencies were "crying wolf". He added: "We are trying to warn of a major catastrophe.

"If the public and world governments step up and if our members and others rapidly increase their responses then a catastrophe can still be averted."