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Horn of Africa Food Crisis

2009-09-10

Starvation Threatens Millions of Children in Horn of Africa

The lives of millions of children are being threatened by a worsening humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa.

More than 18.4 million people – including four million children under the age of five, are in urgent need of emergency assistance.

Since May this year, food and water security has rapidly deteriorated across much of Kenya, Somalia, Eastern Uganda, Djibouti, Eastern Ethiopia and Eritrea. The people in these countries are suffering their third, fourth or fifth consecutive season with little to no rain. This, combined with chronic food shortages, armed conflict and political instability has led to the current crisis of malnutrition and disease.

Threat posed by malnutrition and disease

A growing number of children are suffering from acute malnutrition, a condition which if not treated quickly can lead to disease and death. Access to safe water and sanitation is extremely limited in the region, making it highly susceptible to outbreaks of waterborne disease. Cholera and diarrhoeal diseases have been reported in Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia, further threatening the lives of children.

UNICEF’s response

UNICEF is already in the region working closely with partners to improve access to safe water and good sanitation, and provide health care services including measles vaccinations coverage. We are also providing much needed therapeutic food, including high protein biscuits and Plumpy Nut™, to children and families in need.

However, experts predict the situation will worsen, with the impact of this year’s crisis expected to continue into 2010.

Additional funds are urgently needed to ensure emergency assistance reaches vulnerable children and their families.

Please show your support by making a donation today.

You can help. Donate now to help children threatened by the Horn of Africa Food Crisis or call 1-800-567-4483.

$56 can help provide 1,000 high-energy biscuits to children at risk of starvation.

$75 can help provide over 9,000 water purification tablets, enough to provide clean water for a family for over 11 months.

$106 can provide a basic family water kit for six households, with detergent, soap, wash basin, towels, bucket and water purification tablets.

$500 can provide emergency health kits with medical supplies and drugs to cover the basic health needs of 50 people for three months.<>

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.