Wednesday July 27, 2005
Australian Red Cross has launched an urgent appeal to assist international efforts to avert possible widespread starvation in the four worst affected countries of the Sahel region of West Africa.
The appeal will support efforts by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, aiming to raise $18 million for disaster relief.
The CEO of Australian Red Cross, Mr Robert Tickner said the situation is especially serious in Niger, where according to the UN 3.6 million people, or 28 per cent of the population, are affected by food shortages, caused by a combination of drought and the effect of last year's invasion by swarms of locusts.
'The Red Cross wants to help 222,000 of the most vulnerable people for the next six-months, through food, seed, fodder distributions and mobile feeding centres,' said Mr Tickner.
'The funds raised will be used to provide assistance in Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso and Mauritania.'
According to current UN estimates, 800,000 children in Niger are going hungry. But it is not only Niger that is in the grip of food shortages. Populations in neighbouring countries - some 2.2 million in Mali, 1.6 million in Burkina Faso and 750,000 in Mauritania are also under threat.
To donate to the Niger Emergency 2005 Appeal:
Call 1800 811 700
- Visit www.redcross.org.au to make a secure online donation
- Send a cheque to GPO Box 9949 marked 'Niger Appeal' in your capital city
The funds raised through this appeal will be used in one of three ways:
- to support the relief and rehabilitation activities of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Partners in the affected areas, through the emergency appeal
- to fund any deployment of specialist delegates to the region to assist in the International Red Cross response
- to support any Australian Red Cross programs of assistance in the affected areas
NOTE: Australian Red Cross will not deduct more than 10% of any donation for an international appeal to cover its own costs. Should the funds raised exceed the amount required to meet the immediate and longer-term needs of the people in the affected areas, Australian Red Cross will use any excess funds to help people affected by emergencies within the same region of the world.