Rates of Malnutrition Soar in Liberia as Action Against Hunger Expands Programs
Despite the halt in fighting in the capital Monrovia, civilians remain trapped in a city of chaos. The humanitarian situation is deteriorating further each day in Monrovia while the continuous fighting in other regions of the country threatens to re-ignite on the outskirts of the capital at any moment.
The humanitarian aid organization Action Against Hunger / Action Contre la Faim (ACF) has opened a second therapeutic feeding center in the Mamba Point area, following the opening of a first center in Sinkor in June-both are located in the city of Monrovia. The organization is currently caring for 200 severely malnourished children. In addition, supplementary food is being distributed to 1100 moderately malnourished children from four sites. Many of these children are living in camps at the periphery of Monrovia where around 25,000 displaced people are living in alarming condition.
For several months, our teams have witnessed a dramatic deterioration in the nutritional situation of the civilian population. Already between March and May the percentage of malnourished children recorded in the camps had increased by 75%. By mid-June, another evaluation in Monrovia of 2142 children revealed that 858 were malnourished.
At the same time, Action Against Hunger is preparing to increase its activities in the provision of safe drinking water in the capital, particularly in certain buildings in the city center where there is no access to water and which have been identified as priority areas. Executive Director of Action Against Hunger - France, Benoît Miribel, will be in Monrovia from Saturday 19 to Tuesday 22 July, and will be available for interviews in English.
Liberian Capital in Chaos - Civilian Population Trapped in Fierce Fighting
UPDATED JULY 24, 2003
Violent shelling in the Mamba point area, in the heart of Monrovia, has caused 100 deaths, with hundreds of people injured.
Faced with the political inaction of the international community, the Monrovian population is losing hope. It is plain to see that a humanitarian catastrophe has been unfolding over the last four days, but is being met by general indifference.
'Due to the violence of the fighting, the Monrovian inhabitants are hiding away at home, surviving on the little they still have there. The situation is even more disastrous for displaced people, who have already lost everything and have arrived in the capital with only the clothes they were wearing. The situation for the Monrovian population is agonising - no food, no water, no access to medical care, especially those who have been injured in the ongoing fighting,' says Frederic Bardou, Action Against Hunger Head of Programme from the capital.
Action Against Hunger protests against this general indifference and condemns the absence of concrete and immediate measures by the international community to protect the civilian population.
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Facts about Hunger
925 million people suffer from hunger and malnutrition around the world.
Malnutrition affects 32.5% of children in developing countries.
1 out of every 6 infants are born with low birth weight due to undernutrition among pregnant women in developing countries.
1 out of every 3 people in developing countries are affected by vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
Hunger is number one on the list of the world's top 10 health risks. It kills more people every year than AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined.