News

Aid Agencies Seek a Billion Dollars for Sahel Relief

Image released by Oxfam shows a women pointing at the dry land in Oud Guedara. Early indicators point to a likely food crisis in 2012, with people at particularly high risk in Mauritania, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali and Chad, December 11, 2011.
Image released by Oxfam shows a women pointing at the dry land in Oud Guedara. Early indicators point to a likely food crisis in 2012, with people at particularly high risk in Mauritania, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali and Chad, December 11, 2011.
Joe DeCapua

Humanitarian agencies say at least one billion dollars is needed to prevent many people from going hungry in Africa’s Sahel region. They say about 15 million people are affected by a deepening food crisis.

The Sahel stretches across nearly a dozen countries in the northern part of Africa, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea. Warnings about a food crisis in some of the western and central Sahel countries have been ongoing. However, funding for aid efforts has fallen far short of appeals.

The United Nations has appealed for more than $700 million dollars, but so far has received less than half. Also a coalition of four NGOs is requesting $250 million for Sahel aid efforts. Only about $52 million has been raised.

World Vision, Action Against Hunger, Save the Children and Oxfam are making the joint funding request. Chris Webster is with World Vision’s Global Rapid Response Team and is based in Niger.

“You have a food crisis running across the whole of the Sahel region. It’s affecting a reported 15 million people. Around one million children are severely malnourished. The situation is serious,” he said.

And getting worse

Despite the scope of the crisis, Webster says it has not received the same media attention that the drought and famine in East Africa did.

“Thankfully, so far, we’re not seeing the suffering that we’ve seen in the east of Africa. But what we are aware of is that people in five weeks’ time are going to be starving. That’s a fact from the indicators that we’re looking at. What we’re trying to do here in West Africa is intervene before it reaches that point. So there’s an imperative to respond early,” he said.

Webster describes the food crisis as complex, with drought being just one of the factors.

Specifically this year we’ve seen failed rains. We often get rains, but they’re often too short and at the wrong times. So we’re not able to see the harvests that we need. Within the region we’ve got some complex political issues as well and governance and conflict in Mali, which has led to some 200,000 people to leave their homes. So the combination of that and the instability that that causes on top of the lack of food.

The conflict in northern Mali is forcing civilians to seek safety in neighboring countries. Most have gone to Mauritania. Webster said the refugees are bearing the brunt of both the food crisis and conflict.

“People are arriving there with nothing. They’re living in camps, which are just sheets on sticks with a few pots and pans. And there’s a fierce wind blowing across this desert. The heat is unbearable. And so there we’re able to see the extent of that suffering already playing out in those refugee camps. Now, I think what we’re seeing there are the kind of things we’re going to be seeing more and more in some of these communities that are at risk,” he said.

The humanitarian NGO coalition said the needed funding is not only for emergency food aid, healthcare and shelter. They say the money would also be spent to boost community resilience, such as livelihood development and agricultural reforms. Such things, they say, could help communities better withstand erratic rainfall and political instability.

The NGOs are calling on G8 leaders to consider the Sahel crisis at their summit next month.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Interneti
X
Mike O'Sullivan
June 30, 2015 8:20 PM
Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs