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The European Commission and UNICEF aim to prevent mass child death in the Sahel

DAKAR, 29 May 2013 - The European Commission and UNICEF are again combining their efforts to combat severe malnutrition in the Sahel. The aim is to provide life-saving medical treatment and ready to use therapeutic food rations for an estimated 437,000 severely malnourished children under the age of five in seven Sahel countries.

In addition, the funding will be used to train 64,000 outreach workers who will identify children at risk at an earlier stage while promoting good health practises amongst communities. For the achievement of these purposes, the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid department (ECHO) and UNICEF signed a financial agreement worth €10 million.

“This generous contribution by the European Commission is very timely,” said Manuel Fontaine, UNICEF Regional Director for West and Central Africa. “We are now at the time when we see increasing numbers of children in the treatment centres and many young lives are at risk. We are determined that our response will save lives while helping communities and families to look after themselves in the future so that the need for crisis interventions is reduced.”

"The nutrition situation remains alarming across the region. Despite good harvests in 2012, some 10 million people are still facing shortages and about 1.4 million children under five are still expected to need treatment for severe acute malnutrition this year," said Cees Wittebrood, Head of the East, West and Southern Africa, Indian Ocean Unit at the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department. "The European Union is very aware of the immediate need to provide help to address the urgent needs and to help build resilience."

Last year UNICEF, governments and other humanitarian agencies, with the support of donors such as ECHO, treated more than 927,000 children by supporting 5,100 health centres and outreach programmes in an effort which has been recognised as the biggest of its kind ever mounted in the region.



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.

For more information about UNICEF and its work visit:

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About European Commission's Directorate General for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO)

The European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) funds relief operations for victims of natural disasters and conflicts outside the European Union. Aid is channelled impartially, straight to victims, regardless of their race, ethnic group, religion, gender, age, nationality or political affiliation. ECHO is among UNICEF’s largest humanitarian donors. In 2012 alone, it provided over 70 million Euros for UNICEF’s projects worldwide to support children.

For more information on ECHO:

For further information, please visit UNICEF-EU web portal:


For more information, please contact in Dakar:
Laurent Duvillier, Regional Communication Specialist,
UNICEF West & Central Africa,
Cell: +221 77 740 35 77 or +221 77 637 66 04,

Anouk Delafortrie, Information Coordinator for West Africa,
European Commission, Humanitarian Aid & Civil Protection (DG ECHO)
Cell: +221 77 740 92 17,



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