[QODLink]
Europe
Cameron drafts Olympians for hunger summit
"Race against hunger" brings world leaders and athletes together in the wake of Somalia famine.
Last Modified: 12 Aug 2012 19:23
The Downing Street summit is meant to secure commitments to cut child malnutrition by 40 per cent worldwide [AFP]

A group of Olympic athletes from around the world have backed a campaign organised by David Cameron, UK prime  minister, against child malnutrition in vulnerable countries such as Somalia.

Mo Farah, the British double Olympic gold medallist, and other sporting stars have joined Cameron for a hunger summit on Sunday, along with leaders from Brazil, Kenya, Bangladesh, India and Ireland.

Also invited are Ethiopian distance runner Haile Gebrselassie and Brazilian football star Pele.

Cameron hopes to secure enough commitments from leaders and global firms by the time of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to help prevent millions of malnourished children from suffering a stunted growth.

"Between 2011 and 2015, Britain will reach 20 million children under the age of five and pregnant women with nutrition programmes," Cameron said in his opening remarks at the summit.

Cameron stressed that it was vital leaders and businesses keep the promises they make.

"We've all signed up to the World Health Organisation target to cut stunting from malnutrition by 40 per cent in 2025 and it's now time to put that into practice. That would see something like 70 million children have access to proper nutrition," Cameron said.

The meeting comes one year after Somalia's worst famine in generations, leaving tens of thousands displaced in camps in Mogadishu. The UN says 2.5 million people in the country will need aid to survive.

The UN declared a famine in Somalia last July as hundreds of thousands of people set out on foot in search of food, filling refugee camps in Mogadishu, Ethiopia and Kenya.

Though the UN has never released a death toll, the British government estimated between 50 thousand and 100 thousand people died before the famine ended in February.

The situation is nowhere near as bad as one year ago when 3.8 million Somalis were affected, the UN says. Some 12 million people needed assistance at the height of last year's famine.

The UN says that 18 per cent of children born in the country will not reach the age of five. A third of children are moderately or severely underweight, and only a third of children are enrolled in school.

367

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Tokyo government claims its homeless population has hit a record low, but analysts - and the homeless - beg to differ.
3D printers can cheaply construct homes and could soon be deployed to help victims of catastrophe rebuild their lives.
Featured
Pro-Russia leaders' election in Ukraine's east shows bloody conflict is far from a peaceful resolution.
Critics challenge Canberra's move to refuse visas for West Africans in Ebola-besieged countries.
A key issue for Hispanics is the estimated 11.3 million immigrants in the US without papers who face deportation.
In 1970, only two mosques existed in the country, but now more than 200 offer sanctuary to Japan's Muslims.
Hundreds of the country's reporters eke out a living by finding news - then burying it for a price.