About six million people are experiencing hunger in Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, and Senegal. 1.6 million children struggle from severe acute malnutrition. It is the worst crisis seen in the region since 2012. NGO such as Caritas Mauritania warns that the situation may deteriorate rapidly in the next few months.
Poor rainfall has caused the latest emergency which has led to water, crop, and pasture shortages as well as livestock losses. The seasonal movement of livestock has been forced to start four months earlier than normal. People are facing critical challenges such as little job opportunities, inflated food prices, and displacement. Food security has worsened considerably and food supplies for millions of people have been seriously depleted.
Many people’s lives are now at risk in six countries. Severe acute malnutrition rates have been escalated by 50% since 2017. One in six children who are under the age of five are threatened by the lack of life-saving treatment. Without prompt assistance, thousands of families are forced to reduce meals. The deteriorating situation in the Sahel threatens livelihoods and children risk being removed from school.
Urgent assistant for food needs in Niger.
Tens of thousands of people in the Diffa region of Niger have been forced to flee due to violent attacks by militants from Boko Haram.
Raymond Yoro, secretary general of Caritas Développement Niger commented:
“The humanitarian situation in Niger is worsening day by day due to the security crisis in Diffa, Tillabery and Tahoua. The number of people in need has increased to 2.3 million, an increase of 400,000 compared to 2017.”
It is estimated that over 380,000 young children fell victim to severe acute malnutrition and nearly one million of children suffering from moderate acute malnutrition. More than one million people will seek food assistance this year.
Food emergency in Burkina Faso
More than 80,000 people are estimated to be suffering from a food emergency. Because of climate change and conflict, displaced people have faced critical challenges.
Abbé Constantin Safanitié Sere, Caritas Burkina secretary-general, noted:
“If the project is not fully funded, it would be devastating especially for vulnerable households who cannot survive without assistance”
“In that case we would have to give preference to the most vulnerable groups, namely children, pregnant women, lactating women and people with disabilities.”
Over 500,000 people struggled with meeting daily food needs
According to a survey conducted in February, nearly 150,000 people could be suffering from acute malnutrition and severe acute malnutrition rates reach the highest this year.
The NGO also pointed out that the main problem is to offer access for people to have ample food and clean water.
“Despite the hope brought by some traces of rain here and there, the humanitarian situation remains worrying in rural areas,” says Caritas Mauritania.
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Image credit: UNICEF