Published Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014 | 5 p.m.
Updated Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014 | 5 p.m.
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The European Union has allocated 320 million euros ($431 million) to the U.N. children's agency to help 15 vulnerable countries tackle infectious diseases and the lack of food, which are key causes of child deaths.
EU Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs announced the new funding Tuesday, standing beside UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake who praised the way "the EU has put children at the heart of its development agenda."
While child mortality rates have declined from an estimated 12.6 million in 1990 to approximately 6.6 million in 2012, UNICEF said around 18,000 children still die of preventable diseases every day.
The EU funding is going to East Timor and 14 African countries — Burundi, Congo, Ethiopia, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Madagascar, Mauritania, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.