非洲「危機」警號再響 UNICEF發起全球籌款活動 目標籌款港幣9.4億元 拯救西非薩赫勒過100萬名嚴重營養不良兒童

 

非洲「危機」警號再響 UNICEF發起全球籌款活動 目標籌款港幣9.4億元 拯救西非薩赫勒過100萬名嚴重營養不良兒童

新聞稿 12:00
Tsahara Saidou holds her two-year-old son, Moctar, who is suffering from severe acute malnutrition, as they return to their home village of Garin Kouroun, Maradi Region. They have just visited the UNICEF-supported health centre in the village of Sarkin Yamma Saboua, approximately six kilometres from Garin Kouroun, in Madarounfa Department. [#5 IN SEQUENCE OF FIVE]

In March 2012 in Niger, under-five mortality rates remain among the highest in the world, the result of preventable or treatable conditions, including malnutrition. The country is one of eight in the Sahel region  also including Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and the northern parts of Cameroon, Nigeria and Senegal  facing a nutrition crisis that now affects over 10 million people. Unless reached with appropriate treatment and prevention programmes, more than 1 million under-five children are at risk of dying from nutrition-related illnesses. The current crisis is the result of repeated drought-related food shortages, from which people have insufficient time to recover before being again affected. In turn, these shocks are exacerbated by chronic stunting, high rates of poverty and illiteracy and inadequate social infrastructure, including for basic child and maternal care. In Niger, over 331,000 under-five children are at risk of becoming severely malnourished, while cases of moderate acute malnutrition are expected to exceed 689,000. Over 5.4 million people  some 35 per cent of the countrys population  remain food insecure. Stunting prevalence is above 50 per cent; over 62 per cent of the population lives in poverty, and the adult literacy rate is a low 20 per cent  only 12.3 per cent for women. UNICEF requires US$120 million to fund its Sahel emergency response in 2012, of which only 32 per cent has been received to date. The European Union (EU) is one of the largest international donors to UNICEF nutrition programmes in the Sahel and in other regions. In Niger, working with the Government and other partners, UNICEF is currently assisting over 37,000 under-five children suffering from severe acute malnutrition, with plans to reach 394,000. Support includes the provision of ready-to-use therapeutic food (a high-protein, high-energy peanut-based packaged paste for malnourished children that does not require cooking or handling). Plans are also underway to provide blanket feeding support for an additional 530,000 children aged 623 months and for 97,000 pregnant or lactating women during the lean season  from April through October  when food scarcity is greatest. UNICEF is also assisting other health, water, sanitation and hygiene, education and child protection initiatives.
香港,2012年4月4日——在索馬里脫離饑荒困局之際,非洲又再響起「危機」警號。在西非薩赫勒地區,正有超過100萬名兒童患有嚴重急性營養不良,瀕臨死亡邊緣。聯合國兒童基金會(UNICEF)在香港、英國、澳洲等地發起全球籌款活動,目標籌款約港幣9.4億元(1.2億美元),即時將當地人道救援工作升級。UNICEF執行主任安東尼‧雷克,亦正於其中一個受災地區——乍得,親身視察災情。

在布基納法索、喀麥隆、馬里、乍得、毛里塔尼亞、尼日爾、尼日利亞及塞內加爾8個西非薩赫勒地區國家,超過1,500萬人現正處身於嚴重營養危機之中。薩赫勒地區在過去數年接二連三遭受突發災害,包括2005年和2010年先後遭逢大旱,大幅削弱了他們在今次危機下的抗逆力。許多家庭由於缺乏糧食被迫出售牲畜,孩子輟學,甚至要靠借貸過活。當中5個薩赫勒地區國家,包括:布基納法索、乍得、馬里、毛里塔尼亞及尼日爾,已主動向國際社會求援。

UNICEF在過去7個月一直積極準備應對薩赫勒地區的營養危機,包括運送大批即食營養治療食品至受災國家,盡力紓解5歲以下兒童嚴重急性營養不良的問題。然而,要治療100多萬名患嚴重急性營養不良的5歲以下兒童,UNICEF估計需要約港幣9.4億元(1.2億美元)款項支持,但至今所籌得的善款數目僅達資金需求的32%。若籌款數目未能進一步提升,估計薩赫勒地區因嚴重營養不良而面臨死亡的兒童,將飆升至140萬。除了爭取時間,應付當地迫切的人道需求外,UNICEF亦準備加強薩赫勒地區兒童的長期抗逆力。

有見災情嚴重,UNICEF執行主任安東尼‧雷克現時亦身處其中一個受災國家——乍得,進行為期3日的探訪。乍得正遭受嚴重乾旱、食品價格居高不下、政局不穩三重衝擊,UNICEF估計當地足有127,000名5歲以下兒童隨時面對性命危險。此外,乍得去年共錄得130宗小兒麻痺症個案,是小兒麻痺症災情最嚴重的國家之一,一旦營養危機加劇,病症將可能出現大規模爆發。另外,UNICEF通訊專員克里斯多夫‧泰迪本周則會駐守尼日爾,每天24小時緊貼當地災情。

「薩赫勒和香港雖然有一段距離,但只要願意,身在香港,也可以參與UNICEF的緊急生命拯救行動,出一分力,讓營養危機不至演化成另一場饑荒。」聯合國兒童基金香港委員會總幹事陳文端女士指出,「只要港幣12元,不到一頓飯的價錢,就可以為1名兒童提供1天的營養治療食品,延續他們的生命。」香港市民只要前往本會的捐款頁面或致電2833 6139便可捐款支持UNICEF全球籌款活動,或透過關注泰迪的Twitter微博,實時獲取災區最新狀況。