One million children in Sahel at risk, UNICEF warns

January 27, 2012 19:38


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GENEVA - More than 1 million children in the Sahel are at risk of severe malnutrition and urgent action is needed to avert starvation akin to that in Somalia, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) warned on Friday.

The agency appealed for $67 million for 8 countries in the region where it said instability fueled by increasing activities of al-Qaida and Boko Haram was compounding humanitarian needs. They are Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and the northern regions of Cameroon, Nigeria and Senegal.

"In the Sahel we are facing a nutrition crisis of a larger magnitude than usual with over 1 million children at risk of severe, acute malnutrition," Rima Salah, acting UNICEF deputy executive director, told a news briefing.

"The countries in the Sahel, for example, if we do not now attend to their needs, it will become like Somalia and other countries," she said. "We have to prevent it before it becomes a disaster

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