Ann Veneman, executive director of UNICEF, said her group is working to make sure the affected areas of Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia don't slip into a great crisis.
A U.N. release Tuesday said many areas in the four countries have not seen substantial rains for more than two years, leading to crop failures, livestock deaths and a loss of water sources.
U.N. officials said the drought also has a long-term impact on children's education since many are not attending school in order to join in the search for food and water.
UNICEF is requesting $16 million from the international community to fund its response to the drought.
Interpol investigating stolen passports on missing flight
Dennis Rodman pledges to end trips to North Korea