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Mia Farrow appeals for aid on behalf of children in the Sahel

By Chris Niles

New York, 1 May 2012 – UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Mia Farrow has issued an urgent appeal on behalf of a million children in the Sahel whose lives are threatened by severe acute malnutrition.

The internationally acclaimed actress and humanitarian has recorded a public service announcement to encourage people to support UNICEF's life-saving efforts in the region.

“I’ve seen mothers watching their babies dying of starvation. For those children who survive, malnutrition will permanently damage their minds and their ability to grow,” Ms. Farrow said. “So try not to think of 1 million children; think of one child, one little boy or girl who needs your help right now.”

Responding to a vast crisis

UNICEF has been preparing for months to meet the crisis in the Sahel region of West and Central Africa, where droughts have caused crops to fail and food prices to rise.

Working with national and international partners, UNICEF is shipping nutritional supplies, setting up thousands of health centres and hiring staff to cope when the region’s so-called ‘lean season’ goes into full effect.

Tens of thousands of children have already been treated for severe acute malnutrition, a life-threatening condition. But the lean season has only just begun and UNICEF needs $120 million to fully and effectively respond to the crisis.

Drawing attention to children’s needsMs. Farrow, who was appointed a Goodwill Ambassador in 2000, has worked tirelessly to raise money and awareness about the rights of children, particularly those affected by armed conflict. She has visited countries such as Angola, Chad, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti and Nigeria on behalf of UNICEF.

In February of this year, Ms. Farrow visited malnourished children at a therapeutic feeding centre in Mao, Chad, helping to draw attention to the Sahel crisis and its most vulnerable victims.

For more information:
Martin Dawes, mdawes@unicef.org, UNICEF Regional Office for West and Central Africa
Tamar Hahn, thahn@unicef.org, UNICEF Latin America and the Caribbean

UNICEF works in 190 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.



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