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UNICEF Launches Its Biggest-Ever Appeal To Help 73 Mn People

Fontaine says UNICEF has had to drastically cut back services for gender-based violence in Central African Republic because it only has received 36 percent of the money it needs.

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UNICEF
Children wait to be treated at a roadside UNICEF clinic, in Kananga, Democratic Republic of Congo VOA

The U.N. Children’s Fund is launching its largest-ever appeal for $3.9 billion in life-saving assistance for 73 million people, including 41 million children affected by conflict, natural disasters and other emergencies in 59 countries.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The U.N. Children’s Fund says 2019 also marks a year of heightened conflict, with more countries at war than at any time in the past three decades.

Among the greatest victims are more than 34 million children affected by conflict or disaster. UNICEF says they are suffering horrific levels of violence, deprivation and trauma with little access to protection and life-saving assistance.

UNICEF Director of Emergency Operations Manuel Fontaine says 88 percent of this year’s appeal is for humanitarian crises driven by conflict. He says the single biggest operation is to help Syrian refugees, the largest displacement crisis in the world, and the host communities in five neighboring countries of asylum.

syrian refugee children,
Syrian children, evacuated from rebel-held areas in the Eastern Ghouta, are seen playing at a shelter in the regime-controlled Adra district, on the northeastern outskirts of the capital Damascus, March 20, 2018. VOA

“The 2nd largest appeal is for Yemen, which over the past year has seen conditions, unfortunately, that were already catastrophic for children get even worse, if that is possible” Fontaine said. “Eight out of 10 children, which is over 11 million, now require humanitarian assistance in Yemen.”

UNICEF’s biggest operations traditionally have been in Africa. But this year the Democratic Republic of Congo places third, followed by Syria and South Sudan.

Fontaine says Africa unfortunately is the continent with the biggest gap in funding. He tells VOA African countries are not getting the attention they need, and that has serious consequences for humanitarian operations.

Yemen
Graphic content / A Yemeni woman holds a child suffering from malnutrition as they sit on a bed at a treatment centre in a hospital in the third city of Taez in the country’s southwest on November 21, 2018. VOA

“In a country like Cameroon, which is one of the countries for which we have concerns, particularly in northwest and southwest region at the moment. We had aimed to immunize 61,000 children against measles and because of lack of resources, we could only immunize a bit more than 2,000,” Fontaine said. “So, obviously, we are far behind what we need to do.”

Also Read: Millions Of Urban Children in Worse Condition Than Rural People: UNICEF

Fontaine says UNICEF has had to drastically cut back services for gender-based violence in Central African Republic because it only has received 36 percent of the money it needs. In all cases, he says funding shortfalls have very direct implications on the lives of children and women. (VOA)

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High Consumption of Junk Food May Spike up Allergies in Children

The study revealed a significant correlation between AGEs and junk food consumption, said Roberto Berni Canani, Associate Professor at the University of Naples Federico II in Italy

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Junk Food. Wikimedia Commons

Researchers have found that high consumption of junk food such as microwaved foods and barbequed meats may be responsible for food allergies in children.

The study, presented at the 52nd Annual Meeting of the European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology Hepatology and Nutrition, shows that high levels of advanced glycation end-products (AGEs) are associated with food allergies in kids.

AGEs are present in high levels in junk foods such as sugars, processed foods, microwaved foods and roasted or barbequed meats. They are known to play a role in the development and progression of different oxidative-based diseases including diabetes, atherosclerosis and neurological disorders, said the researchers.

Cholesterol -- a molecule normally linked with cardiovascular diseases -- may also play an important role in the onset and progression of Alzheimer's disease, researchers have found.
Junk Food is highly rich in Cholesterol. Pixabay

For the study, the research team observed 61 children aged between 6 and 12 years. They were identified in three categories – those with food allergies, those with respiratory allergies and healthy controls.

Also Read- Research Finds Nurses at an Increased Risk of Sleep Deprivation

The study revealed a significant correlation between AGEs and junk food consumption, said Roberto Berni Canani, Associate Professor at the University of Naples Federico II in Italy. (IANS)