HONG KONG, 11 July 2011 – The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) estimates that over two million young children are malnourished and in need of urgent life-saving actions, if they are to survive conditions in drought-affected countries in the Horn of Africa. Half a million of those children are facing imminent life-threatening conditions, with long lasting consequences to their physical and mental development. UNICEF is asking for HK$ 250 million to provide life-saving support to the millions of affected children and women.
This crisis is being called the worst for 60 years, in a region familiar with severe drought. Countries most seriously affected are Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, and Djibouti. Global acute malnutrition rates in Northern Kenya are now above 25 % with records reaching as high as nearly 40% in the Turkana district. UNICEF estimates a total of 10 million people are already in need of humanitarian assistance.
High food prices and prolonged drought are worsening an already dire situation for thousands of families in need of food and water. Thousands of families are crossing the border from Somalia as emergency feeding centers are being set up by UNICEF and other humanitarian agencies in neighbouring countries. The refugee situation is growing with some 10,000 arriving every week in Dadaab on the border between Somalia and Kenya.
The threat of disease on already weakened young children is of particular concern and UNICEF is urgently setting up child immunisation campaigns. UNICEF, government agencies, NGOs and other UN agencies will be working in the vital areas of water, food and sanitation in the coming days to ward off a massive emergency. However funding shortfalls, and in some areas the denial of access, threaten to disrupt these essential services.
“UNICEF is asking for US$ 31.9 million, that is HK$ 250 million, for the coming three months to provide life-saving support in the Horn of Africa.” said Ms Irene Chan, Chief Executive of Hong Kong Committee for UNICEF, “The funding will ensure that affected women and children will receive treatment for severe acute malnutrition, gain access to clean water through water trucking, receive vaccines against deadly diseases and resume education. Your donation is vital to the survival of every vulnerable child and woman. Support us and save children in the Horn of Africa! ”
Donation for the Horn of Africa Emergency Relief (Click here to direct to the donation page)
(In the unusual event that donations to the Horn of Africa exceed the needs, we will direct your gift to children in greatest need elsewhere.)