News / Africa

UN Launches New Plan to Tackle Chronic Hunger in Sahel

FILE - Mothers and their malnourished children at an intensive nutritional rehabilitation center in Tanout, southern Niger, April 27, 2010.FILE - Mothers and their malnourished children at an intensive nutritional rehabilitation center in Tanout, southern Niger, April 27, 2010.
x
FILE - Mothers and their malnourished children at an intensive nutritional rehabilitation center in Tanout, southern Niger, April 27, 2010.
FILE - Mothers and their malnourished children at an intensive nutritional rehabilitation center in Tanout, southern Niger, April 27, 2010.
Lisa Schlein
— The United Nations has announced a new three-year action plan to tackle chronic hunger in Africa’s Sahel region.  The U.N. is appealing for $2 billion to provide humanitarian assistance for 20 million people across the region in 2014.  

More people than ever are at risk in the Sahel, according to the U.N.  It says the number of people lacking access to food this year is almost twice as many as in 2013.  And, of the 20 million people suffering food shortages, it says 2.5 million are in urgent need of life-saving assistance.  

In the midst of this bleak assessment, the U.N. notes Mali and Burkina Faso have made dramatic progress in reducing the numbers of people dependent on aid.  But, it says this good news is balanced by a big jump in insecurity in northern Nigeria, and the northern Sahelian parts of Cameroon and Senegal.  

The U.N. regional humanitarian coordinator for the Sahel, Robert Piper, says the Sahel is a very fragile region, beset by poverty, limited basic services, risk of epidemics and erratic climate.  He says it takes very little to push millions of vulnerable people over the edge.

“We need to approach this situation differently in a region with chronic problems," said Piper. "This is not a sudden cyclone in the Philippines, for example, but a region that is facing chronic challenges.  We are working differently in the light of this.  We are focusing on building resilience of families, intervening very early as the signals are seen in order to catch them before they lose too many of their assets."

Piper says the U.N. for the first time is embarking on a three-year plan so aid agencies can work systematically around these very complex issues.  But, he says right now the Sahel is in the midst of an ongoing emergency and time is of the essence.

Director-General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization Jose Graziano da Silva says his agency’s first priority is to make sure farmers in the Sahel have a successful planting season.

He says the best action is to prevent a bad harvest and food shortages from occurring.  He says this kind of prevention makes great economic sense.   

“Every dollar that we invested in early agriculture support we can save up to $20 in food assistance later," he said. "So, this number multiplied to 20 is very significant.  And, we hope that we can…build resilience before the drought affects the region as we did early.”   

But, he says the challenges ahead are daunting.  He notes population growth in the region is outstripping a slight increase in food production in 2013.  He adds the problem of food shortages is compounded by skyrocketing prices in most markets.

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Senkaku ONLY!!! from: Senkaku City, Senkaku Is.
February 03, 2014 3:22 PM
So where is Cheapskate China when the people of Africa need help with famine? Oh that's right: Cheapskate China must have given all it's famine aide to Philipines disaster relief. NOT!

Yeah, China is Africa's best new friend when there are mineral riches to be stolen out of Africa, and then they just expect the Western civilization to take care of the African people left to suffer, while they cart off all the goods back to China.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid