Niger

Generous public donate £17 million to DEC Niger Crisis Appeal

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The Disasters Emergency Committee is today thanking the UK public for responding quickly and generously to the Niger Crisis Appeal. Current figures show that =A317 million will be raised which will ensure that member charities can continue to expand their emergency work in Niger, Mali, Mauritania, and Burkina Faso.

"We are delighted to see that people have once again responded generously to a vitally important appeal." Said Brendan Gormley from the DEC.

"Concerns are often raised about the fear of donor fatigue particularly following on from the very recent tsunami tragedy but families across the UK have once again proved that they want to and can help. Money raised is already saving lives of those facing hunger in Niger, Mali, Mauritania and Burkina Faso. We want to encourage people to continue to donate -- sadly the need in West Africa is huge"

The immediate focus of the DEC member agencies is on supplying food to keep the most vulnerable alive, especially children. Three British Red Cross flights have delivered food for 23,000 malnourished children and Islamic Relief has already distributed 108 tonnes of food aid to Niger and Mali.

Agencies are aiming to prevent diseases which tend to result from lack of food, such as cholera, typhoid, diarrhoea, acute respiratory infections and measles, as well as treating illnesses related to malnourishment.

Save the Children has sent a plane carrying emergency health kits, sachets of reydrating salts for severely dehydrated children, mosquito nets, malaria testing kits, Vitamin A tablets which provide a vital supplement for malnourished children, pregnant and lactating mothers and folic acid, which promotes the health of pregnant women.

In Mali Christian Aid is treating malnutrition in over 3,000 young children under the age of 5 and demonstrating how to prepare porridge with flour enriched milk to 1575 mothers and donating 19 tons of the milk.

In order to prevent future emergencies Christian Aid is now training 28 new teams in the Bandiagara district of Mali -- one of the areas worst-hit by drought - to protect crops from locusts. Christian Aid gives millet in exchange for the burial of locust eggs.

ENDS

For further information call the DEC press office on: 0207 387 0200