News / Africa

Aid Agency Warns of West Africa Food Crisis

Mother feeding her severely malnourished daughter at center in Niger run by CONCERN and supported by WFP in October 2010.
Mother feeding her severely malnourished daughter at center in Niger run by CONCERN and supported by WFP in October 2010.
Joe DeCapua

A humanitarian agency warns that millions of people in West Africa are facing a food crisis. Oxfam is calling on donors to take immediate action. Oxfam’s regional humanitarian coordinator, Nahuel Arenas, says there’s no time to waste.

“We are talking about January/February. So this is why we need to respond now,” he said.

People in Mauritania, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali and Chad are said to be particularly at risk. Arenas said the Sahel region often experiences cycles of drought and floods, causing food insecurity. And while that didn’t happen this year, the region did face a combination of problems.

“We had a very bad rain season, on which most of the rural population depends in the Sahel region. We had very few rains very badly spread over the territory. And at the same time we had an increase in prices in the markets. So what happens is that the local populations are facing the double challenge of low production and increasing prices. So less access to the markets,” he said.

Cash and food

Oxfam reported cereal production fell this year and describes national food reserves as dangerously low. That’s caused the jump in prices. Food is available at some markets, but people simply can’t afford to buy it. Arenas said when that happens giving money is better than food aid.

“So in these cases we promote the use of cash transfers. So on one side we help households to access their food requirements and at the same time we support markets and the local economy,” he said.

Oxfam said regional governments have already recognized the problem. It’s calling on them to provide cash transfers and feed for livestock, while preparing to distribute emergency food aid. But the agency’s regional humanitarian coordinator said international donors need to act now, as well.

“Our message would be that the international community can still avoid the worst if we act together now. We know from past crises that acting too late costs far more in lost lives and livelihoods and it’s more expensive,” said Arenas.

Oxfam is concentrating on food security, water and sanitation and advocacy to help deal with the situation.

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.
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.
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