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Kiwi Dollars Saving Lives in Horn of Africa

UNICEF NZ (UN Children’s Fund)
Media Release
12 August 2011

Kiwi Dollars Saving Lives in Horn of Africa
UNICEF NZ Emergency Appeal www.unicef.org.nz or 0800 800 194 -

Generous Kiwis are helping UNICEF (UN Children’s Fund) to save children’s lives in the Horn of Africa. So far New Zealanders have raised $350k to help UNICEF scale up its support for the millions of children suffering in the region.

Money donated by Kiwis to UNICEF NZ so far is equivalent to:

• Feeding almost 25,000 severely malnourished children for a week. Packets of therapeutic foods cost only 70 cents each but are already saving children’s lives

• Or vaccinating 875,000 children against measles. Measles and malaria epidemics are expected when the seasonal rains come in October, so UNICEF are carrying out massive immunisation campaigns now

• Or providing clean water and sanitation to 35,000 families - $10 provides about 50 bath-tubs full of water. Clean water and sanitation is vital to prevent disease.

Dennis McKinlay, Executive Director at UNICEF NZ, said “Although the scale of the situation in East Africa is huge, the interventions that allow UNICEF to save lives actually cost very small amounts.

“Kiwis have been incredibly generous so far but we need to ask for continued support to help us to carry on scaling up our work, especially in Somalia where several areas in the South now have famine status.

“UNICEF is the largest supplier of therapeutic and supplementary feeding in Somalia and is getting aid into the country. We operate in all areas of the South either with our own staff or through long-term partners. This emergency isn’t a lost cause but the situation is going to get worse unless we can secure more donations to continue the up-scaling of our work to the end of the year.”

UNICEF needs an estimated USD$315m to the end of 2011 but has a current shortfall of $189m. An estimated 12.4 million people in the region need urgent humanitarian support with over half a million severely malnourished children at imminent risk of death. UNICEF is providing support to people wherever they are located, with the priority to reach them before they move from their homes and become more vulnerable.

UNICEF has stepped up its life-saving support in health and nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene and child protection. UNICEF’s main area of scale up is in ‘blanket supplementary feeding’ where we aim to cover the gap of lack of food aid to reach 150,000 families in Somalia in the next two months.

In July by plane, truck and ship we delivered 1300 metric tons of critical supplies to some of the hardest hit areas in southern Somalia. Nearly 5000 tons a month of therapeutic and supplementary food is being transported to the Horn of Africa each month - enough to help 300,000 children malnourished children.

UNICEF is also supporting integrated campaigns for measles and polio immunisation, deworming and Vitamin A supplementation, in Dadaab and the host communities in Liboi, Garissa and part of Wajir. More than 200,000 children under five will be reached through the immunisation campaign over the coming weeks. Over 100,000 children have already been vaccinated. In Somalia the strategy is to vaccinate every child (under the age of 15) against measles – a total of 2.5 million children.

Mr McKinlay added, “As well as providing therapeutic feeding, it is imperative to immunise children against infectious diseases like measles and polio since malnutrition can weaken a child’s immune system.

“In the famine in the early 1990’s, a significant wave of deaths took place after the start of the October rains, despite widespread food assistance, because health interventions were inadequate to prevent major outbreaks of the disease. So we are acting now because these diseases can spread very quickly in overcrowded conditions like in the camps,” Mr McKinlay said.
Access to clean water and sanitation is also essential for securing the health and well-being of children. In Dadaab, UNICEF is facilitating access to clean water for 22,000 refugees on the outskirts of the camps by providing 1,600 jerry cans and two water bladders. UNICEF is also working with partners to install 16 water points for refugees walking from the border along three major influx routes to Dadaab. UNICEF is targeting 1.8million people in total with water and sanitation services.

UNICEF NZ urgently needs funds to reach malnourished children in Southern Somalia and other countries in need in East Africa. Please donate now at www.unicef.org.nz or call 0800 800 194.

© Scoop Media

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