September 14, 2009 16:02 ET

UNICEF Canada: Millions of Children at Risk of Starvation From Food Crisis in Horn of Africa

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 14, 2009) - The lives of millions of children are being threatened by a worsening humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa. More than 18.4 million people, including four million children under the age of five, are in urgent need emergency assistance.

"More and more children are suffering from acute malnutrition because of the humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa," said Nigel Fisher, UNICEF Canada President and CEO. "We must act now to help the millions of children across the region at risk of death and disease before the situation gets any worse."

Since May this year, food and water security has deteriorated across much of Kenya, Somalia, Eastern Uganda, Djibouti, Eastern Ethiopia and Eritrea as a result of erratic weather conditions and drought. The people in these countries are suffering their third, fourth or fifth consecutive season of little to no rain. This combined with chronic food shortages, armed conflict and political instability has led to the current crisis of malnutrition and disease.

Access to safe water and sanitation is also extremely limited in the region, making it highly susceptible to outbreaks of waterborne disease. Cholera and diarrhoeal diseases have been reported in Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia, further threatening the lives of children.

UNICEF is already on the ground helping to provide life-saving supplies including nutritional supplements such as Plumpy'nut™ spread, high-energy biscuits and clean water. But additional help is urgently needed for increased emergency assistance to reach the most vulnerable children and families impacted by the crisis.

Canadians can help children affected by the food crisis in the Horn of Africa by donating online at www.unicef.ca or by calling 1-800-567-4483. Donations will help UNICEF ensure a full package of services, including provision of health care, access to safe water and sanitation and treatment for malnutrition such as high protein biscuits for children.


UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 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, please visit www.unicef.ca.

Contact Information

  • For more information, or to arrange an interview
    with Nigel Fisher, please contact: UNICEF Canada
    Christopher Tidey, Media Relations Officer
    416 482-4444 ext. 8831