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Children Starving in Rebel Held Western Liberia

Children Starving in Rebel Held Western Liberia

As rebels continue to control western Liberia, food shortages are reaching crisis point and World Vision is warning that many children are starving.

World Vision CEO Helen Green says a nutritional screening programme of children by aid agencies and the United Nations has found that severe malnutrition is on the rise in Tumbanburg, west of Monrovia.

"The situation is serious, and if the world doesn't act now, thousands of people could die. We are aiming to raise $50,000 in New Zealand to fund supplementary feeding centers in Liberia," Mrs Green says.

Tubmanburg is the headquarters of the rebel group, Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD). It is also home to 25,000 refugees, who are appealing for urgent humanitarian aid, especially food.

The nutritional screening programme of 503 children this month found 22 children were suffering from oedema, the worst stage of starvation. The rest were in various stages of malnutrition.

Most of the children and their families were seeking refuge in Tubmanburg after being abducted earlier in the year by LURD during clashes involving the government and rebels.

World Vision Health Manager in Liberia, Francois Batalingaya said the security environment in Liberia would allow urgent intervention in the area.

"Given the approval from donors, WV Liberia will move in immediately to provide general food rations and establish a supplementary feeding center for moderately malnourished children and pregnant women," he said.

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