News / Africa

Food Insecurity a Serious Problem in Sahel

FILE - Maryam Sy comforts her two-year-old son Aliou Seyni Diallo, the youngest of nine, after a neighbor gave him dry couscous to stop him from crying from hunger, May 1, 2012.
FILE - Maryam Sy comforts her two-year-old son Aliou Seyni Diallo, the youngest of nine, after a neighbor gave him dry couscous to stop him from crying from hunger, May 1, 2012.
Jennifer Lazuta
The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says $1 billion is still required for emergency needs in Africa's Sahel region, which stretches from Senegal in the west to Chad in the east. 

To date, humanitarian agencies say they have received only about one-third of the requested $1.7 billion needed to help the more than 11 million people in the Sahel who face food insecurity this year.  That number includes 4.9 million children under five and pregnant mothers who are at risk of acute malnutrition.  

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says the food security and nutrition situation in the Sahel is expected to remain critical in coming months, in the region's "lean season."

To help the most vulnerable people in the region, humanitarian organizations requested $1.7 billion in funding for 2013, but, so far, have received just over $600 million.

"Today, middle of the year, we are only one-third funded for our appeal.  That means we have a $1 billion funding gap, said Robert Piper, the U.N. regional humanitarian coordinator for the Sahel. "That translates into a whole range of programs that we simply cannot extend.  It’s food assistance to families that we just can’t reach.  It’s assistance of emergency kind to farmers who are missing a season to plant, which means they’ll be back perhaps next year for food aid."

Piper said that the agricultural and refugee sectors are particularly underfunded.

In Burkina Faso, for example, only three percent of the requested agricultural funds for 2013 have been received. In Mauritania, only 14 percent of funding for water and sanitation aid has been granted.

Piper said that high food prices, following last year’s drought, have left families even more vulnerable.

He said many can’t afford to buy staple foods, such as rice and millet, which, in many cases, cost 50 to 60 percent more than the average price over the last five years.

The ongoing crisis in Mali has also left nearly 600,000 refugees and 450,000 displaced persons in need of aid.

Piper warned that if more funding for the region isn’t received soon, the situation is likely to deteriorate even further.

"Clearly we have to be very worried about the immediate needs.  These are families that we won’t reach if funding doesn’t come through.  It’s calories not distributed to families in need.  It’s nutrition programs that are not delivered.  There are health care programs following epidemics that can’t be put in place," he said.

OCHA says they are now calling on donors to close the funding gap.

You May Like

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub 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