World Vision Ambassador and Silver Logie Nominee Rebecca Gibney has today released a video statement urging Australians to support the response to an escalating food crisis in West Africa.
Recorded during a break in filming on the set of ‘Packed to the Rafters’, Ms Gibney calls on Australians to donate to World Vision’s West Africa Food Crisis Appeal. She also speaks about her role as an ambassador for World Vision over 20 years and what she’s seen on her own trips to Africa during that time.
“I have met families whose lives have been changed by World Vision’s work,” Ms Gibney said. “I have seen for myself how donations from ordinary Australian families really do make a difference”.
World Vision estimates around 15 million people are now in need of food assistance across West Africa, particularly in Niger, Mali, Chad, Mauritania and Senegal. In Niger alone, more than six million people are at risk of hunger and nearly two million of those are in critical need of food assistance.
Communities are being pushed to the brink as families ration scarce resources of food and sell animals at plummeting prices. Some have even begun eating animal feed and wild leaves to survive.
Already 1.3 million children in the region are suffering from acute malnutrition, with 400,000 suffering from the most severe form.
World Vision Australia chief executive Tim Costello said, “Donations from Australians will help to save lives in West Africa if we act now. Despite the fact these countries are a world away, they are in dire need of our support and the money raised will make a real difference.”
The West Africa Food Crisis Appeal will fund an emergency response that includes life-saving interventions like feeding programs for acutely malnourished children, the delivery of food aid and replenishing village granaries.
Globally, World Vision aims to raise $60 million to help more than 1 million people.
“World Vision will also work with communities on long-term development solutions which include drilling bore wells, distributing seeds and helping families establish vegetable gardens”, Mr Costello said.
The major causes of the crisis have been ebeen a combinrratic rains, pests and long-term vulnerabilities, but instability in Mali and neighbouring countries is now threatening the response effort in some areas.
Mr Costello will visit Nairobi, Kenya next week to attend the ‘Beating Famine’ conference, a World Vision initiative aimed at developing a strategy to tackle hunger through long-term land management techniques.
Ms Gibney has taken time out of her busy schedule filming Packed to the Rafters to record this video support message for World Vision. On April 15, Ms Gibney will also feature at the TV Week Logie Awards, where she is again nominated for a Silver Logie for Most Popular Actress on Australian television.
A copy of the video support message can be viewed here:
To donate to the West Africa Food Crisis Appeal go to www.worldvision.com.au or call 13 32 40.
To interview Tim Costello please call Gabrielle Brophy on 0407 575 112. MP3 Audio of Rebecca Gibney’s message is also available from firstname.lastname@example.org