'A Cry for Help': Hunger and Drought Crisis in West Africa



UNICEF is focused on the nutritional needs of children. According to the organization, children who are acutely malnourished cannot consume regular food and require therapeutic food for their bodies to recover.

UNICEF said the donations made for the Sahel crisis would support life-saving relief efforts for children, including: therapeutic food and milk, medicine, immunizations and supplies to provide access to clean water.

Susannah Masur, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, said that $100 could save a child from severe acute malnutrition; $50 could buy 1,200 high-energy biscuits to give suffering children the protein, vitamins and sugar; and less than $1 could immunize two children against the measles.

To donate to UNICEF, click here.

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontieres:

In addition to preventing and treating malnutrition throughout West Africa and the Sahel region, Doctors Without Borders is responding to multiple emergencies related to and exacerbating the hunger crisis, including assisting refugees from Mali and vaccinating against meningitis in Chad.

The organization said that $35 could purchase either enough vaccine to inoculate 85 children against measles during a deadly outbreak or a scale used to weigh children too young or weak to stand.

To donate to Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontieres, click here.


GlobalGiving is collecting donations that will support organizations working in the Sahel region to provide necessary food and medical supplies to those in need. Donations help support efforts to provide food, mosquito nets and clean water through the Sahel Famine Prevention Fund, which distributes donations to UNHCR; Edesia, the makers of Plumpy'Nut; Merlin USA; Oxfam; and others.

Text GIVE FOOD to 80088 to donate $10 to its Sahel Famine Prevention Fund. Message and data rates may apply and it only works for U.S. mobile phones.

To donate to GlobalGiving, click here.

World Vision:

World Vision is helping the people throughout West Africa to improve their lives and enact sustainable solutions for the future of their children, families and communities.

The organization's child sponsorship program plays a vital role in this partnership, with donors from the United States sponsoring more than 7,700 girls and boys. In addition to sponsorship, World Vision operates other programs that benefit communities in Niger.

"A dollar today goes a lot farther than $10 tomorrow," said Laura Blank, World Vision's emergency communications director. "In fact, the U.N. has estimated that an early response to the Niger food crisis several years ago would have cost just $1 per day to prevent malnutrition -- as opposed to the $80 per day cost once the international response finally began. Fighting drought before it happens is simply good aid."

To donate to World Vision, click here or call 1-888-56-CHILD (1-888-562-4453)

Concern Worldwide:

Concern Worldwide is an international, non-governmental humanitarian organization dedicated to reducing extreme poverty, with more than 3,200 personnel working in 25 of the poorest countries in Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean.

Concern has been working in Niger since 2003 and has responded to previous food crises in the country in 2005, 2008, and 2010. As the first signs of crisis started to emerge in 2011, Concern rolled out early prevention programs in the country's worst-affected areas to increase people's economic and food security.

Concern has been working in eastern Chad since 2007 and following a nutrition assessment in early 2012, Concern launched an emergency response program to lessen the impact that the failed harvests will have on the poorest and most vulnerable.

To donate to Concern Worldwide, click here

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