Two million young children in East Africa are in need of urgent life-saving action, something that two local fund-raisers hope the people of Brechin can help with.
Cheryl Birse and Irene Gillies were in the Co-op at Trinity Road yesterday (Tuesday) and will return today (Wednesday) and perhaps tomorrow (Thursday) from 10 am to around 4 pm collecting much needed funds for UNICEF.
High food prices and a prolonged drought are worsening an already dire situation for many thousands in need of food and water.
UNICEF havs estimated that around half a million children are facing imminent life-threatening conditions, with long lasting consequences to their physical and mental development.
Irene said: “The current drought in East Africa (encompassing Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya and Dijbouti) has been one of the worst for 50 years, leaving pastures barren, water sources dry and livestock starving.
“Due to drought and conflict people are crossing from Somalia to Kenya and Ethiopia each month placing further strain on already overstretched refugee camps.
“UNICEF continues to work in this region delivering life saving nutrition and other basic supplies to keep vulnerable children alive and prevent disease.
“Once again a few of us are hoping you will all support us with a collection that will be held at the Co-op.
“Brechiners have all been very supportive of Cheryl and I for all the disasters that have happened recently.
“We hope they will continue to support us in this enormous task.”
The countries most seriously affected are Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, and Djibouti with global acute malnutrition rates in Northern Kenya now above 25 per cent, and as high as nearly 40 per cent in the Turkana district.
Thousands of families are crossing the border from Somalia as emergency feeding centres are being set up by UNICEF and other humanitarian agencies in neighbouring countries.
The refugee situation is growing with some 10,000 arriving every week in Dadaab on the border between Somalia and Kenya.
The threat of disease on already weakened young children is of particular concern and UNICEF is urgently setting up child immunization campaigns.
Along with other government agencies and NGOs, UNICEF will be working in the vital areas of water, food and sanitation in the coming days to ward off a massive emergency.
To help raise vital funds to help the people of Africa pop along to the Co-op where you can donate money for this good cause.