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Two million children at risk of starvation in Horn of Africa

U.S. Fund for UNICEF appealing for donations to provide critical relief - $10 can feed a child for 10 days

NEW YORK (July 12, 2011) — More than two million young children are malnourished in drought-affected Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, and Djibouti, half a million of whom require immediate life-saving attention to survive.

The U.S. Fund for UNICEF is raising funds to prevent child deaths from malnutrition and disease in these countries. UNICEF is one of the largest suppliers of Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Foods, which provide life-saving nutrients to sustain and feed severely malnourished children.

UNICEF’s Regional Emergency Adviser for Eastern and Southern Africa, Robert McCarthy, discusses the food crisis arising from severe drought and armed conflict in the Horn of Africa.


"The preventable death of one child is unacceptable. The potential deaths of two million children from starvation are indefensible," said President and CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF Caryl Stern. "Roughly $10 can feed a child for 10 days. Join us now to prevent this catastrophe from unfolding."

UNICEF urgently requires $31.8 million over the next three months for relief efforts. Donations will ensure that crisis-affected children and women receive therapeutic treatment for severe malnutrition, gain access to clean drinking water and better sanitation, and are vaccinated against measles, polio, and other deadly diseases, as malnourished people are at higher risk of disease outbreaks. Funding will also support school-in-a-box kits and temporary learning spaces for children displaced by drought and conflict.

The Horn of Africa drought is being called the worst in 60 years, in a region familiar with severe drought. UNICEF estimates that 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 people 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 neighboring countries. Child malnutrition rates in some camps are at least 45%, triple the emergency threshold. The refugee situation is growing, with some 10,000 people arriving every week to the Dadaab refugee camps on the border between Kenya and Somalia.


UNICEF has saved more children's lives than any other humanitarian aid organization in the world. Working in more than 150 countries, UNICEF provides children with health and immunizations, clean water, nutrition, education, emergency and disaster relief, and more. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF supports UNICEF's work through fundraising, advocacy, and education in the United States.

UNICEF is at the forefront of efforts to reduce child mortality worldwide. There has been substantial progress: the annual number of under-five deaths dropped from 13 million in 1990 to 8.1 million in 2009. But still, 22,000 children die each day from preventable causes. Our mission is to do whatever it takes to make that number zero by giving children the essentials for a safe and healthy childhood.

For additional information, please contact:

Lisa Szarkowski, U.S. Fund for UNICEF, 212.922.2643,  lszarkowski@unicefusa.org
Susannah Masur, U.S. Fund for UNICEF, 212.880.9146, smasur@unicefusa.org
Lissette Vargas, U.S. Fund for UNICEF, 212.922.2517, lvargas@unicefusa.org




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