West Africa Food Crisis Deepens - Millions of People at Risk; World's Largest Teen Hunger Awareness Campaign Set For This Weekend

Apr 27, 2012, 08:00 ET from World Vision U.S.

More than 150,000 Teens Nationwide Expected To Fast from Food


World Vision's 30 Hour Famine, April 27th- 28th

SEATTLE, April 27, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- While drought conditions persist in West Africa, putting millions in peril, more than 150,000 teens across America will sacrifice this weekend to take part in World Vision's 30 Hour Famine, the world's largest teen hunger awareness campaign. Since 1992, 30 Hour Famine has raised more than $140 million, involving more than 6 million teens in fighting global hunger. This year, part of 30 Hour Famine funds will go to address the food crisis in West Africa (Mali, Niger, Senegal, Mauritania and Chad). The food crisis continues in the Horn of Africa as well.

Almost 15 million people across the Sahel (in West Africa) need food now. One million children suffer from severe malnutrition. According to a World Vision field study almost 90 per cent of people there estimate their food will run out before the next harvest. Every family surveyed said they've cut back on how much food they eat daily because there's not enough to go around. Many are forced to sell their animals to buy food but this is flooding the market causing livestock prices to plummet. Children are dropping out of school because families leave in search of food. Nearly one third of the population are still in debt from the last widespread crop failure in 2009.

This weekend, April 27th - 28th, teens nationwide prepare for the 21st annual 30 Hour Famine, forsaking food for 30 hours to get a taste of what the world's poorest children face. Prior to the event, teens raise funds by explaining that $1 can help feed and care for a child a day. As they fast, teens consume only water and juice as they participate in local community service projects. In 2011, 30 Hour Famine raised $9.5 million with funds going to fight global hunger. This year's goal: $11 million. More than 850 million people will go to bed hungry tonight. World Vision is a relief and development organization reaching more than 100 million people worldwide.

World Vision's 30 Hour Famine Manager Michele Tvedt was in the Horn of Africa recently. "I've seen poverty on every continent but this is the worst. Mothers burying their children in the desert – these are decisions no one should have to make. But American teens are standing with them." Tvedt has personally done 30 Hour Famine for 13 years, adding up to more than 420 hours of fasting over the years.

Michele Tvedt is available for interviews. Here's a link to a video: http://bit.ly/JD11rA

For info: www.30hourfamine.org or call 800-7-FAMINE or visit www.facebook.com/wv30HF

About World Vision – World Vision is a Christian relief and development organization dedicated to helping children and their communities worldwide reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty.  World Vision serves the world's poor regardless of a person's religion, race, ethnicity, or gender.  For more information, visit www.worldvision.org.    

SOURCE World Vision U.S.