Guatemala: Pop star Christina Aguilera calls for funding to help UN feed thousands

24 September 2009

Grammy Award-winning singer and young mother Christina Aguilera has urged donors to provide funding for United Nations emergency food relief efforts in Guatemala after witnessing first-hand the impact of hunger in the Central American country.

Ms. Aguilera traveled with the World Food Programme (WFP) to villages in the Guatemalan highlands, where up to 80 per cent of the indigenous children are malnourished, the agency said yesterday.

“WFP urgently needs donations to keep feeding some 150,000 women and undernourished children,” said Ms. Aguilera. “I want to raise awareness and open people’s eyes so they can get the funds they need to keep on working.”

WFP brings life-saving food assistance to some 350,000 people in Guatemala, which has the fourth highest child malnutrition rate in the world.

Noting that many of the children she saw in Guatemala were much shorter than normal for their age, resulting from the absence of healthy food at an early stage, Ms. Aguilera stressed that if a “child under two doesn’t get the nutrients they need, we can never fix the damage later on.”

The United States singer is also the global spokesperson for the “Yum! Brands’ World Hunger Relief” campaign, which shines a spotlight on hunger, promotes volunteerism and raises funds for WFP.

She has recently added her soulful voice to a new video for the campaign, stressing that a donation of just $1 can feed four children for one day.

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Food shortages in Guatemala threaten hundreds of thousands, warns UN agency

Urgent funding is needed to help combat an acute hunger crisis that is ravaging much of Guatemala, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has warned.