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UNICEF calling for famine and food crisis donations in final week of Government of Canada match

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1.4 million children at imminent risk of death as Canada's match fund comes to a close

TORONTO, June 23, 2017 /CNW/ - Canadians have just one week left to have their donations to the famine and food crisis matched by the Government of Canada's Famine Relief Fund and UNICEF is calling for life-saving donations by the June 30 match deadline.

A UNICEF nutrition volunteer measures the mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC) of a child during a health screening as part of a UNICEF Rapid Response Mission to the village of Aburoc, South Sudan, on May 12, 2017. (CNW Group/UNICEF Canada)

Today, more than 1.4 million children across South Sudan, Nigeria, Somalia and Yemen are facing imminent risk of death from severe acute malnutrition, while 22 million children are hungry, sick, displaced or out of school. A famine has already been declared in parts of South Sudan and looms large in the other three countries and the Horn of Africa.

"We've been saying for months that these children are at risk. Today, the danger is real, it's present and children are dying," said David Morley, UNICEF Canada President and CEO. "With just one week left to have donations to UNICEF's response matched by Canada, it's more important than ever that Canadians give, and show the world what it truly means to be compassionate, global citizens."

Last month, the Government of Canada created a Famine Relief Fund, matching the amount of donations made by individual Canadians to the work of organizations involved in the famine response, including UNICEF. UNICEF has saved more children's lives than any other humanitarian organization and is working in all of the affected countries to save lives.  

Since the start of the crisis, UNICEF has been scaling up its life-saving interventions, and advocating for unconditional and unimpeded humanitarian access in order to reach the most vulnerable. In 2016, UNICEF and partners provided treatment for severe acute malnutrition for a combined 730,000 children across the four countries. This year, UNICEF has been working to reach one million children affected by severe acute malnutrition, as well as vaccinate 3.4 million children for measles, provide 7.4 million people with access to safe drinking water and ensure 2.1 million children have access to education. 

"We've got more than 750 staff spread across the four countries, doing their best to meet children's urgent needs," said Morley. "Our rapid response teams are reaching the most remote communities with treatment for malnutrition, immunization and safe water and sanitation services. But the scale of the crisis is unprecedented. We need to act before we have four declarations of famine on our hands, and millions more children at risk."

All donations made by June 30 will be counted in the Government of Canada's match fund, and will have twice the life-saving impact for vulnerable children.

To donate to UNICEF Canada's famine response go to www.unicef.ca/famine.

About UNICEF
UNICEF has saved more children's lives than any other humanitarian organization. We work tirelessly to help children and their families, doing whatever it takes to ensure children survive. We provide children with healthcare and immunization, clean water, nutrition and food security, education, emergency relief and more.

UNICEF is supported entirely by voluntary donations and helps children regardless of race, religion or politics. As part of the UN, we are active in more than 190 countries - more than any other organization. Our determination and our reach are unparalleled. Because nowhere is too far to go to help a child survive. For more information about UNICEF, please visit www.unicef.ca. For updates, follow us on Twitter and Facebook or visit unicef.ca.

SOURCE UNICEF Canada

View original content with multimedia: http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/June2017/23/c1338.html

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