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AmeriCares: Emergency Aid Headed to Niger for Sahel Crisis

(AmeriCares) Emergency medical aid and water treatment supplies are on the way to Niger for the millions of people suffering from the food crisis in the Sahel region. With depleted food stocks from last year’s harvest quickly running out and millions suffering from malnutrition and related health problems, AmeriCares is rushing enough medical aid to treat about 15,000 people. The delivery was made possible through the generosity of AmeriCares donors GlaxoSmithKline and P&G. The shipment includes 660 treatments of Augmentin, an antibiotic GlaxoSmithKline pre-positions in AmeriCares Amsterdam warehouse for emergencies, as well as 1.1 million P&G water purification packets (formerly known as PUR packets) – enough to provide more than 40,000 people with clean drinking water for three months.

Drought and political instability have led to a major food crisis affecting 18 million people across West Africa. Serious flooding, a deadly cholera outbreak and the conflict in neighboring Mali have exacerbated the situation. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recently made a plea for international aid to alleviate the crisis.

“Niger is one of the poorest countries in the world and they have been the hardest hit,” said AmeriCares Emergency Response Manager Karl Erdmann, who recently returned from the region. “More than one-third of the population has been affected, including 400,000 children suffering from severe malnutrition. They are not equipped to care for the tens of thousands of refugees crossing the border from Mali, and they are quickly running out of food and medical supplies.”

The medicines and relief supplies from AmeriCares will be distributed by a partner organization providing medical care in refugee camps. The recent shipments are AmeriCares second delivery for the Sahel crisis. In August, AmeriCares sent medical aid and 2.5 million sachets of P&G water purification packets to Mali on a humanitarian aid flight coordinated by the global logistics company UPS.

AmeriCares has been responding to natural disasters, disease outbreaks and crushing poverty for 30 years, delivering medicines and relief supplies that restore health and save lives. In 2005, during one of the one worst food shortages in Niger’s history with 2.5 million people facing starvation, AmeriCares airlifted more than 30,000 pounds of medical aid to clinics and feeding centers treating malnourished children and adults.

About AmeriCares
AmeriCares is a nonprofit global health and disaster relief organization that delivers medicines, medical supplies and aid to people in need around the world and across the United States. Since it was established in 1982, AmeriCares has distributed more than $10 billion in humanitarian aid to 164 countries. For more information, visit americares.org.

Salesian Missions is a proud partner of AmeriCares.


PHOTO: UNHCR/H. Caux (representative photo, taken near Mali/Niger border earlier this year)

See related MissionNewswire article on Salesian Missions’ work related to this emergency:
(July 19, 2012) MALI: Salesians Assist Displaced Children & Families as Political Instability Continues