Stouffville, ON, March 28, 2012 – More than one million children are expected to suffer from acute malnutrition in the West Africa-Sahel region, according to UNICEF.
Lack of rain, rising food prices and conflict-related economic instability has resulted in a potential food crisis in nine Sahel countries. At least 15 million people are estimated to be at risk of food security in the Sahel.
cbm Canada is responding to the food crisis in the Sahel region by focusing its relief efforts in Niger and Chad which have the highest percentage of malnourished children.
“In times of food crisis, children and families with a disability suffer the most,” says Ed Epp, Executive Director of cbm Canada. “We know that those who can’t see, hear or walk aren’t able to get to food lines or feed their children.”
cbm plans to ensure that nutrition centres in Niger and Chad will include children with disabilities and their families in their food distributions.
In Niger, cbm’s partner has an excellent reputation of efficiently responding to disasters and regularly includes persons with disabilities of all ages in its emergency response program.
More than 1 million people with disabilities in Niger and Chad are affected by this food crisis.
cbm Canada’s plan of action
Epp announced cbm’s three-step plan of action:
Phase I: Feed Vulnerable Children and Families
-Provide urgently needed food aid to young children, new mothers and people with disabilities.
-Ensure people with disabilities have access to relief aid by:
Working with major NGO’s in Niger and Chad to make sure their food distribution points are accessible.
o Finding and referring people with disabilities to accessible feeding stations, and providing specialized treatment when necessary.
Phase II – Provide lasting food security for people with disabilities:
-Give 2,000 families affected by disability access to survival yards to help sustain them through this pending food crisis and future droughts. cbm expects to help over 10,000 beneficiaries.
o Survival yards will include seeds and seedlings that can be grown year-round, clean water and agricultural training
Phase III – Care for children With Disabilities
-Many children who survive severe malnutrition are left with mental and physical impairments. cbm will give these children the resources they need to thrive.
$50 will provide one month of food rations for a family of six. A survival yard plot for one family is $100.
“It’s our mandate to do all we can to ensure needs are being met. We need the help of generous Canadians to intervene before vulnerable lives are lost,” says Epp.
To help save lives and provide care for vulnerable children and their families, call 1-800-567-2264 or visit www.cbmcanada.org/foodcrisis.