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Commentary available: UNICEF welcomes government match for the Sahel as malnutrition crisis worsens

2012-08-07

TORONTO, August 7, 2012 – UNICEF Canada’s Meg French is available to comment on the escalating malnutrition crisis in the Sahel and the Canadian government’s matching fund to support UNICEF’s life-saving work for children and families.

The number of malnourished children in the Sahel is expected to rise to 1.5 million due to threats of conflict, locusts and cholera. Commentary is available on how Canadian donations – matched by the Canadian International Development Agency between August 7 and September 30, 2012 – will strengthen UNICEF’s programs for the region’s most vulnerable children.

Active in nine countries across the Sahel, UNICEF is focused on saving lives by providing treatment to malnourished children, clean water and sanitation, and other health interventions to protect children from diseases such as cholera and measles. The next few weeks will be critical for service delivery.

UNICEF’s aid appeal is less than 50 percent funded.  $122 million is still urgently needed to support emergency programs in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and The Gambia in 2012.

Canadians can support UNICEF’s work in the Sahel by donating at unicef.ca/sahelnow or by calling 1 800 567-4483.

What: Commentary on UNICEF’s emergency programs to reach 1.5 million children at risk of severe acute malnutrition across the Sahel.

Who: Meg French, UNICEF Canada’s Director of International Programs; UNICEF Spokespeople in the region

Where: Toronto (UNICEF spokespeople also available from the region) 

About UNICEF

UNICEF has saved more children’s lives than any other humanitarian organization. We work tirelessly to help children and their families, doing whatever it takes to ensure children survive. We provide children with healthcare and immunization, clean water, nutrition and food security, education, emergency relief and more.

 UNICEF is supported entirely by voluntary donations and helps children regardless of race, religion or politics. As part of the UN, we are active in over 190 countries – more than any other organization. Our determination and our reach are unparalleled. Because nowhere is too far to go to help a child survive.

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For further information:

Stefanie Carmichael, Communications Specialist, (416) 482-6552 ext. 8866; Cell: (647) 500-4230, scarmichael@unicef.ca.
Tiffany Baggetta, Director, Communications and Brand, (416) 482-6552 ext. 8892; Cell: (647) 308-4806, tbaggetta@unicef.ca.