A child dies every two minutes from hunger and malnutrition in the isolated African drylands, TREE AID warns today, as it launches an appeal to help 32,000 families.
Climate change & deforestation, has left vast swathes of the region lacking the right conditions to grow food for local communities – leaving many to go hungry. For several months each year in the drylands, known as the “hungry months”, food is so scarce that people eat only once a day, or sometimes not at all.
Globally hunger and malnutrition has been identified as the number one risk to health – a greater risk than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. Now, respected international development charity TREE AID has calculated that tragically hunger and malnutrition kills a child every two minutes in the drylands.
The charity is launching an urgent campaign to help 32,000 people get the skills they need to grow trees in the region. The trees can be harvested by the local people for food, such as nuts, fruit and seeds, to eat and to take to market in order to earn extra income for their families.
In the drylands “weather extremes” such as drought and flooding make harvests unpredictable and there are few opportunities to earn extra income for the family. Native tree species are perfectly adapted to these extremes and carry on producing food, even when other crops fail.
Jamila Mustafa, mother of six from Northern Ghana says: “There are days that I cannot eat at all, because I want to be able to give my children something. I work hard but I can’t ever be sure of having enough food to feed my children. I am keen to learn new skills, make money and save so that I will have something to fall back on next time the hungry months come.”
The charity is urging people from around the UK to donate money, and help ‘grow hope’ for 32,000 families in the drylands – giving them the tools they need to lift themselves out of extreme poverty.
TREE AID CEO John Moffett comments: “Trees are vital to local communities, providing nutritious food, improved soil fertility and valuable produce on which the whole family can rely. They are a sustainable solution to lifting families out of hunger and extreme poverty.
“We are urging people from around the UK to help us ‘grow hope’ for families and permanently build a better future for their communities.”
To help families like Jamila’s please donate now to the Grow Hope appeal.
 Ending The Everyday Emergency: Resilience and children in the Sahel. Save the Children and World Vision, 2012. http://www.savethechildren.org.uk/resources/online-library/ending-everyday-emergency-resilience-and-children-sahel . 226,000 children’s deaths directly linked to malnutrition every year in the Sahel is equal to one death every 2.3 minutes.