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.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora