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UNICEF appeals for $1.28bn to aid starving worldwide

UNICEF has appealed for $1.28 billion to fund its 2012 humanitarian operations in more than 25 countries globally — a 9 percent drop from last year's funding requirement.

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A baby is tended to in an effort to stabilize him after he was admitted to a local hospital suffering from acute malnutrition on August 16, 2011. (ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)

UNICEF has appealed for $1.28 billion to fund its 2012 humanitarian operations in more than 25 countries globally — a 9 percent drop from last year's funding requirement.

In its annual "Humanitarian Action for Children 2012" report released Friday, the United Nations Children's fund decried the rising levels of starvation and malnutrition among children under the age of 5 in many of the world's troubled regions.

(GlobalPost reports: UNICEF: 384 children killed in Syria)

According to the reports:

The crisis in Somalia and other Horn of Africa countries accounts for one third of the total amount.

A large proportion of the money would be spent battling persistent starvation among Third World kids, UNICEF said.

Nutrition support for children has increased 47 percent this year and now accounts for 30 percent of UNICEF's total spending requirements, up from 19 percent a year earlier, the Canadian Free Press wrote, citing the report.

A recent survey by UNICEF forecast 1 million cases of severe malnutrition in the arid Sahel region of Africa, just south of the Sahara desert and affecting affecting eight countries, the LA Times reported.

Most of those affected were in Niger, the paper reported, citing UNICEF as saying that so far it had raised funds to feed only half. Up to 60 percent of them were likely to die without emergency assistance, UNICEF said.

"We want to deal with a million [acute malnutrition] cases to prevent as many deaths as possible," the paper quoted David Gressly, UNICEF’s West Africa director, as saying. "We need to look at this both in terms of the medium-term and long-term responses to turn this situation around."

Other countries affected were Chad, Mali, Mauritania, northern Nigeria, Senegal, Cameroon and Burkino Faso.

The report also made the point that grinding persistent poverty would ultimately cause political instability, especially in East and West Africa.

The Canadian Free Press quoted David Morley, from UNICEF's Canada branch, as saying.

"That nutrition component is up and that's really key. When parents are unable to care for their children, when adolescents, particularly young men, don't see any possible future, that leads to political instability."

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/africa/120127/unicef-united-nations-starving-children-syria