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Henry Makiwa 020 7877 7479 / HMakiwa@redcross.org.uk
Out of office hours pager: 07659 145095
The British Red Cross has released £125,000 from its Disaster Fund in an attempt to head off a looming disaster in the Sahel region of West Africa.
The money released today will support the International Committee of the Red Cross’ economic security work in Mali and Niger. The funds will also be used to provide emergency assistance as it is estimated that up to 13 million people are affected with the crisis complicated by the displacement of almost 200,000 people following unrest in Northern Mali.
The Red Cross is already on the ground, urgently working to reach vulnerable families with food and livelihoods support, but needs further help to fund its efforts.
To support the British Red Cross West Africa Food Crisis appeal visit www.redcross.org.uk/westafrica or call 08450 532 003.
British Red Cross disaster response manager, Barry Armstrong said, “The money released from the British Red Cross today goes straight to projects supporting the most vulnerable by contributing to providing relief items, food rations, seeds and tools, fodder banks, and livestock support.
“We will also be looking at longer term plans to reduce the risk of the vicious food insecurity cycle repeating itself. Across the region, the Red Cross Movement has set up livelihood and cash for work programmes, as well as seeds and animal husbandry projects for agricultural support,” he added.
Millions of people in Niger, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Senegal and Burkina Faso have now endured poor harvests since 2010. Security concerns in northern Mali, northern Nigeria, Libya, Niger, Senegal, and Ivory Coast have also triggered widespread population movements, and weakened economies.
According to Mahamadou Abdou Garba, who is in charge of the Red Cross health centre in Kofo village, Niger, women and children are most affected by the current crisis.
He said, “The situation here is catastrophic. The number of malnourished is rising day by day and we do not have enough food to help all those in need. We have more cases of malnutrition this year and many of the children suffer from diarrhea, skin diseases and swollen tummies due to malnutrition.
“It’s really not easy for me to see so many villagers in need of help; and not be able to help them because we lack the means,” Mahamadou added.
For more information on the British Red Cross please visit: http://www.redcross.org.uk or follow us on Twitter at: www.twitter.com/britishredcross
Notes to editors
Materials are available to support your communications needs:
Videos: Niger B-Roll available on www.ifrc.org/newsroom and here
Photography: Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso images available on this link and here
For further press enquires, b-roll footage, case studies, images or to arrange interviews, please contact Henry Makiwa on HMakiwa@redcross.org.uk , 0207877 7479
Faye Callaghan, IFRC communications manager, Africa +251 930 033 413 or +221 772 956 877 firstname.lastname@example.org
Moustapha Diallo, IFRC communications officer, Sahel +221 774 501 004 email@example.com
To support the British Red Cross West Africa Food Crisis Appeal visit our website or call 0845 054 7200.
The West Africa Food Crisis Appeal will cover numerous countries including those currently affected and those potentially affected in the future. In the unlikely event that we raise more money than can be reasonably and efficiently spent, any surplus funds will be used to help us prepare for and respond to other humanitarian disasters anywhere in the world.
The British Red Cross helps people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. We are part of a global voluntary network, responding to conflicts, natural disasters and individual emergencies.
We enable vulnerable people in the UK and abroad to prepare for and withstand emergencies
in their own communities. And when the crisis is over, we help them to recover and move on
with their lives.
For more information visit: redcross.org.uk