News / Africa

WFP: Sahel in Urgent Need of Aid

Conflict in Mali Aggravates Sahel Food CrisisConflict in Mali Aggravates Sahel Food Crisis
x
Conflict in Mali Aggravates Sahel Food Crisis
Conflict in Mali Aggravates Sahel Food Crisis

Multimedia

Audio
Joe DeCapua
The U.N. World Food Program said time is running out to prevent the full impact of the food crisis in Africa’s Sahel region. It said a donor funding shortfall of hundreds of millions of dollars could soon affect emergency aid programs.

De Capua report on Sahel food crisis
De Capua report on Sahel food crisisi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X


WFP West Africa spokesman Malik Triki said food crises in the Sahel have become more frequent in recent years – but not like this.

“This current food crisis in the Sahel is one of the most complex and widest reaching food crises to hit the Sahel of West Africa in living memory. Whereas the 2005 and 2010 food crises hit mainly two countries – in Niger and Chad – this current crisis has hit in no less than 8 countries from Mauritania all the way to Chad,” he said.

Desperation in Niger

“I’ve been to areas where some communities are reduced to eating wild plants, wild berries. Things that normally animals would eat. And they have no other way of feeding themselves and their children. So you could say that technically in certain parts of the Sahel people are desperate and have nothing, literally nothing, left to eat, but wild leaves,” Triki said.

The World Food Program estimates up to 15 million people are affected. But reaching them with food aid can be difficult.

“Many of the countries are landlocked countries,” he said, “So the ability to move food in time to the people who need it most is constrained by the fact that we cannot move it as quickly as we hope for. We need something between 3 months and 4 months as a lead time to move the food. So what we do is to preposition the food closer to the areas where the people need it most.”

And It’s a very expensive humanitarian operation.

“This operation costs at least $790 million. And we still have a shortfall of around $360 million. Obviously, many, many countries and many donors have come forward and helped us, but we still have that shortfall. And we urgently need more donors to come forward to help us plug that shortfall,” he said.

The crisis is blamed on a number of factors – a lack of investment in agriculture, a rapidly growing population and climate change, which has brought drought and floods, as well as erratic seasonal rains.

Fleeing conflict

Conflict adds to the problem. Triki says fighting in northern Mali has created a refugee crisis to go along with the food crisis.

“There are at least 160,000 Malians who fled their country into neighboring countries like Niger, Burkina Faso and Mauritania. And a further 200,000 Malians have been displaced within their own country. And those figures are expected to increase. When these Malians leave their own country and seek refuge into other countries, they are hosted by communities in Niger, Burkina [Faso], Mauritania, who are vulnerable themselves – who themselves are finding it very hard to cope,” he said.

Triki described humanitarian efforts as a race against time. He says millions of children and pregnant women are at risk of malnutrition. He warned if the situation worsens, many of them could die.  The WFP began sounding the alarm about the Sahel last October.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More