We're doubling our appeal for funds to £153 million to help children affected by the food crisis in the Sahel region of West Africa.
At least 1.1 million children in the Sahel will suffer from severe malnutrition this year. They'll need most help over the next three months because the region is now in the driest and harshest period of the year.
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In Mali, in addition to the food shortage, conflict has forced 170,000 people from their homes and into three neighbouring countries, creating new demands and challenges. A further 167,000 people have been displaced within the country.
The UNICEF global appeal for £153 million for 2012 takes into account the need to respond to the nutrition crisis, the Mali emergency and the threat of cholera and other epidemics. We've already vaccinated 6 million children against measles, and reduced the risk of malaria by distributing bed nets to 9 million children.
So far UNICEF has secured £59 million worldwide for the Sahel emergency response. Nearly a quarter of a million children under the age of five across the nine affected countries have already received life-saving treatment for severe malnutrition during the first four months of this year.
"There is no doubt the money given earlier this year has helped us considerably to be prepared and save lives", said UNICEF Regional Director for West and Central Africa Manuel Fontaine.
"Across the Sahel we are dealing with multiple needs to save lives and help children, and the Mali crisis has only put more children in danger. So far we have received money primarily for the immediate nutrition response. But the lack of funds for other vital work prevents us from doing all that we can for children and their parents in what is their time of greatest need."
Around 18 million people are affected by a drought and food crisis in the nine affected countries.
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