Funds needed for Sahel; 1 million children at risk

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woman feeding her malnourished child in the Sahel

The lives of nearly one million children in the Sahel region of Africa are at risk due to severe malnutrition and outbreak of communicable diseases, according to the United Nations.

Lack of adequate funding is hampering the delivery of life saving assistance to the children. The Sahel region is already facing severe food shortages with over 10 million people in Niger, Chad, Mali, Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Senegal in need of assistance.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says an outbreak of cholera and measles in Niger and Chad, was likely to worsen the situation of vulnerable children if not brought under control.

Marixie Mercado from the UN Children's fund (UNICEF) says the agency has only managed to raise 11 million dollars out of the 120 million dollars required to respond to the crisis in the Sahel.

"These children are some of the some of the most vulnerable in the world and that the damage inflicted by malnutrition on the very young is permanent when it is not lethal. In 2012, UNICEF estimates it will need to procure almost 9,000 tons of ready to use therapeutic food for the treatment of children with severe acute malnutrition for 650,000 young children. While it is encouraging that some donors have come forward with some money, early, speed is now absolutely the priority. We need to obtain the funding now to keep the pipeline flowing so that we can treat all the children that need to be treated in the Sahel this year."

Duration:  43″

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