Selena Gomez urges fans to prevent deaths of children in West Africa

WATCH: The singer make a heartfelt plea for fans to support UNICEF's efforts to save children's lives

UNICEF ambassador Selena Gomez has urged fans to support the charity to help prevent the death of one million children in West Africa.

The 19-year-old star has made a heartfelt appeal to her fans urging them to support UNICEF’s efforts to save children’s lives in the Sahel region of West and Central Africa.

In a short video appeal released today, Selena says: ‘Crops have failed in eight drought-hit countries, leaving families with almost nothing to eat.
 
‘Children are especially vulnerable when they don’t get the nutrition that they need. UNICEF urgently needs your help to buy the food and medicine to treat the most sick and malnourished children.’
 
She concludes: ‘We can save their lives. Please help right now. I did. Will you?’
 
UNICEF needs £77million to respond to the needs of more than one million children at risk of severe life-threatening malnutrition, but has received less than half that amount to date.
 
On April 3, UNICEF offices around the world launched a mass social media campaign, #SahelNOW, to help raise funds for this crisis. Miss Gomez used her Twitter account, which has more than 11 million followers, to promote the campaign.
 
‘Let’s make #SahelNOW a trending topic,’ she tweeted. Of the dozens of celebrities and thousands of UNICEF supporters worldwide who spread messages that day, it was Selena who generated the most traffic for the appeal.
 
‘I have very loyal and active fans. Through social media I have a platform that enables me to reach them in real time and mobilize them to take action,’ she said.
 
Miss Gomez followed up her online activism with a visit to UNICEF’s headquarters in New York last week, where she was briefed on UNICEF’s global emergency response operations and discussed the importance of social media in mobilising and educating young people on important issues.
 
Selena was appointed a UNICEF Ambassador in September 2009. In January 2011, she performed her second annual Acoustic Charity Concert that raised US$200,000 for UNICEF programmes that provide nutrition, clean water, medicine, education, and more to children worldwide.
 
For more information about UNICEF’s work in the Sahel region or to make a donation, please visit www.unicef.org.uk

WATCH: Selena make her plea here…
 

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