Food Crisis in Central African Republic

Action Against Hunger provides ready-to-eat therapeutic foods to malnourished children in Central African Republic (Credit: Lucile Grosjean / ACF International) (CNW Group/Action Against Hunger (AAH))

An Action Against Hunger staff member measures children for malnourishment at a mobile nutrition site in Bangui, Central African Republic (Credit: Lucile Grosjean / ACF International) (CNW Group/Action Against Hunger (AAH))

Action Against Hunger Providing Nutrition to Severely Malnourished Children

TORONTO, Feb. 19, 2014 /CNW/ - In Central African Republic, the food crisis is growing in severity. Action Against Hunger (Action contre la Faim / ACF) is providing treatment for severe acute malnutrition among the most vulnerable.

According to the UN, 90 per cent of people in Central African Republic are only eating once a day. A UN assessment determined that 96 per cent of farmers have no access to seeds, while the beginning of the main planting season is less than a month away. With a failed harvest, the existing crisis would worsen and last throughout the coming year.

In Bangui, many large traders and herders have been chased from the country, raising fears of a market collapse that would exacerbate the current food crisis. The food trade in Bangui depends on wholesalers who import food from other countries. Now, fewer than 10 of the wholesalers remain in country; more are planning on leaving. 

Meanwhile, the cost of staple foods such as manioc (cassava) and groundnut has drastically increased. Meat is scarce in much of the capital because cattle herders have fled into the bush; where available, meat is now twice as expensive as it was.

Action Against Hunger is providing nutritional services such as the distribution of Plumpy Nut - a high protein therapeutic food which requires to water or refrigeration. (See an animated video about Plumpy Nut here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aHgyaYhD4z4).

Action Against Hunger activities are run either in functional health centres in Bangui or through mobile teams in displacement sites. More than 750 children suffering from severe acute malnutrition are currently in charge within the ACF programmes in Central African Republic.

"Nutrition is the underpinning of good health, successful livelihoods, and economic resiliency.  Attention must be paid to the growing hunger in Central African Republic to prevent the crisis from taking root and causing even more long-term damage," said Susanne Courtney, Executive Director, Action Against Hunger Canada.

Added Courtney: "Simply put, severe acute malnutrition steals lives. It is unacceptable that children who survive the violence of civil war risk death from hunger.  For those who survive it, malnutrition can seriously impair a child's physical and cognitive development. It can be a huge impediment to a country's long-term resiliency. Action Against Hunger gratefully encourages Canadians to work with us by providing donations for our Central African Republic program."

About Action Against Hunger
Founded in France in 1979, Action Against Hunger/ Action contre la Faim (ACF) is a leading international humanitarian organization committed to ending world hunger, with a special focus on children under five.  Our programs save lives and provide communities with long-term solutions to hunger and its underlying causes. We work in more than 45 countries and reach approximately 7 million people annually.

SOURCE Action Against Hunger (AAH)

Image with caption: "Action Against Hunger provides ready-to-eat therapeutic foods to malnourished children in Central African Republic (Credit: Lucile Grosjean / ACF International) (CNW Group/Action Against Hunger (AAH))". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140219_C5328_PHOTO_EN_36852.jpg

Image with caption: "An Action Against Hunger staff member measures children for malnourishment at a mobile nutrition site in Bangui, Central African Republic (Credit: Lucile Grosjean / ACF International) (CNW Group/Action Against Hunger (AAH))". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140219_C5328_PHOTO_EN_36853.jpg


For further information:

Camille DePutter, Director of Communications
Action Contre la Faim | Action Against Hunger Canada
www.actionagainsthunger.ca
@acf_canada

Office: 416.644.1016 x 205
cdeputter@actioncontrelafaim.ca

Local ACF contacts in Central African Republic available upon request.