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The Financial Times seasonal appeal on behalf of the charity Action Against Hunger/ACF International, which fights child malnutrition and its causes, has raised a grand total of $1,639,185 (£1,014,476).

Raymond Debbane, chairman of ACF’s US board, said: “Because of the generosity of FT readers, Action against Hunger will be able to save even more young lives threatened by malnutrition and help families gain a foothold in some of the poorest and most inaccessible places on earth. To everyone who contributed to the appeal, thank you.”

Lionel Barber, the FT’s editor, said: “We are delighted that the appeal has raised so much. With recession and rising food prices contributing to further hardship for vulnerable people, the ACF cause is urgent and timely.

“Thank you to readers, to fund-matching donors and to others who have given so generously. A novel feature of this year’s appeal was an online auction of lunches with top FT writers, and I would also like to thank restaurants which generously donated these meals.”

The appeal, which ran from November to the end of January, was kick-started by two donor partners, who pledged to match gifts from the public up to a total of $300,000. The partners were Weight Watchers International, contributing $100,000, and the John and Wendy Neu Family Foundation, contributing $200,000.

Direct reader donations and an online auction raised $250,330. A further $1.08m came from other initiatives, including a gala dinner in New York and a London wine auction.

ACF works in more than 40 countries from Guatemala to Georgia, giving emergency treatment where malnutrition is rife. Its projects address underlying causes of hunger by improving farming techniques, supplying clean water and providing those at risk of starvation with tools to earn a living. It is particularly active in areas of conflict and natural disaster, such as Haiti, Pakistan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Paul Wilson, chairman of ACF in the UK, said: “Whether saving the lives of malnourished children or providing food security to thousands of vulnerable communities, all funds raised will have a lasting impact.”

A novel feature of the FT’s online appeal coverage this year was extensive blogs from ACF staff in the field – The Hunger Action Diaries – which gave intimate details of what it is like to fight malnutrition and poverty.

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