In early 2012 the nutrition situation of children in the Sahel belt of Africa deteriorated significantly. Poor rainfall in 2011 led to widespread crop failure and loss of livestock, leading to a rise in food prices, and leading to a nutrition crisis affecting nine countries: Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Gambia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, and Senegal. Early warning systems predicted that more than 12 million people would be affected and that the lives of 1.1 million children would be at risk from severe acute malnutrition. UNICEF sounded the alarm and warned the global community about the impending crisis and planned for humanitarian response.
Champions for Children directly contributed to the humanitarian response by dedicating April 2012 collections to the Sahel crisis. This, together with the help of other supporters, enabled UNICEF to reach 850,000 the children at risk of severe acute malnutrition in the region. This is a truly remarkable achievement, preventing a humanitarian catastrophe on a grand scale.
Key highlights of the response:
• At the end of 2012, more than 850,000 children were treated for malnutrition in the region
• The number of health facilities providing nutrition services increased to more than 4,700, compared to only 3,100 a year prior
• 1.9 million children in the emergency areas were vaccinated against measles
• 7.3 million families in the emergency areas received insecticide-treated bed nets to prevent malaria; and more
Together, we avoided a major humanitarian disaster by reaching and treating more children for malnutrition than ever before. UNICEF continues provide lifesaving support in the Sahel, working to prevent a future crisis. Champions raised $66,466 in April 2012 to support UNICEF’s emergency efforts in the Sahel, thank you for your support in helping these children and families survive and thrive.