News / Africa

    Sahel Food Shortages Put Over 20 Million at Risk

    A Sahrawi man stands in the Sahara desert between Tindouf and Tifariti, February 26, 2011.
    A Sahrawi man stands in the Sahara desert between Tindouf and Tifariti, February 26, 2011.
    Lisa Schlein

    United Nations and international aid agencies warn drought and food shortages in the Sahel region of West Africa are causing millions of people to go hungry and threatening lives.  The agencies are urging the international community to respond quickly to the region's acute needs.  

    Aid agencies warn that international donors are starving Africa’s Sahel region of money needed to avert a humanitarian catastrophe.  Momodou Larmin Fye, the Sahel regional representative in Dakar for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, says the estimated 10 to 14 million people currently affected by drought in the Sahel could rise to 23 million if this region continues to be neglected.

    “Like the Horn of Africa, the Red Cross and Red Crescent movement is extremely concerned that the situation unfolding in the Sahel could quickly develop into a humanitarian disaster if the world does not start paying attention to the plight of these people,” he said.

    Africa's Sahel region
    Africa's Sahel region

    The United Nations notes aid agencies have received only $135 million of the $720 million needed to fund humanitarian operations in six countries of the Sahel.   The region has been hit by recurring droughts and food crises since 1973.  The latest was in 2009 and 2010.  

    Niger, Chad, Mali, Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Senegal once again are experiencing food insecurity due to poor harvests, caused by failed rains, pest attacks and localized flooding.  Aid agencies say people are facing a crisis on a scale they have not experienced before.  They say people are particularly vulnerable now because they lack the coping mechanisms to deal with this new emergency.

    In addition, the director of the United Nations Information Service in Geneva, Corinne Momal-Vanian, says insecurity is making it difficult for humanitarian agencies to access the region.  She says last year's unrest in Libya, and to a lesser extent the crisis in Ivory Coast, are having significant consequences.

    “The return of hundreds of thousands of people has added to the vulnerability of the communities where they come from," she said.  "And, of course, remittances have been lost, trade has been halted, and in addition, there has been an influx of weapons that has fueled insecurity.  So, these factors are added factors this year.  But, many of the vulnerabilities existed before the Libyan crisis.”  

    The Sahel is plagued with chronic levels of food insecurity, poverty and malnutrition.  The International Red Cross Federation reports more than 50 percent of the rural population lives on the edge of the crisis.  It notes food prices in the region have increased between 35 and 85 percent over the past five years.

    The Red Cross says it is scaling up its operations.  It says its priorities include food distribution, access to clean water and sanitation, and providing basic health care.  The agency says it is very concerned about preventing and containing outbreaks of diseases, such as cholera, meningitis and measles.

    You May Like

    Turkey, US Splits Deepen Over Support for Kurdish Militants

    Ankara summons American ambassador to protest remarks by State Department spokesman who said Washington does not consider Syria's Kurdish Democracy Union Party (PYD) a terrorist organization

    Obama Seeking $19 Billion for National Cybersecurity

    Move, touted as attempt to build broad, cohesive federal response to cyberthreats, calls for increase in cybersecurity spending across all government agencies

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire, who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the wars in Iraq, Syria and Yemen

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clownsi
    X
    February 09, 2016 8:04 PM
    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay Prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East Affairs and national security.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.