Recent evaluations suggest 12 million people across West Africa are facing a food crisis following erratic rains that have caused poor food harvests and water shortages. Oxfam is gearing up our response: we hope to reach one million people across Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger with humanitarian aid.
In 2012 the Sahel region of West Africa is once again likely to face a serious food crisis that could, if early and effective action is not taken, prove as costly to lives and livelihoods as the past food crises in 2005, 2008 and 2010, which affected more than 10 million people.
Yet early recognition of the coming crisis also provides an opportunity to avoid the mistakes of the past, enabling action months earlier than in previous crises. By investing now in earlier and more cost-effective actions, vulnerable populations can be protected from the worst impacts of the coming crisis at a much lower cost than if we waited.
The response should not stop at meeting emergency needs; it needs also to tackle the underlying causes of crises like this to prevent them recurring. By investing more in longer-term interventions to reduce the people’s vulnerability to external shocks, we can work to break the hunger cycle in the Sahel. Read more…
Posted in Africa - International, Humanitarian Issues, West Africa
Tagged Burkina Fao, Chad, drought, mali displaced people, Mauritania Malian refugees, Niger crisis, Oxfam appeal for West Africa, Sahel drought and food shortaghes, West African food crisis
Bamako/Dakar — Some 12,000 Malians have fled fighting in the towns of Ménaka and Anderamboucane in northern Mali and reached already food-insecure villages around Tillabéri in western Niger, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Niger’s capital, Niamey.
The Malian refugees are spread across the villages of Mangaizé, Chinégodar, Koutoubou, Yassan and Ayorou in Niger, according to the Malian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with the bulk of them – an estimated 7,000 – in Chinégodar, which is usually home to 1,500, according to Franck Kuwonu at the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Niamey.
Fighting broke out between Touareg rebels and former soldiers from Libya, and the Malian army in mid-January. Rebel groups and former Libya fighters have reportedly acquired fresh weapons as a result of the Libya conflict and have launched a new movement, the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA), which calls for the creation of an independent state encompassing the regions of Gao, Kidal and Timbuktu in northern Mali.
Niger’s Tillabéri region has been hardest hit by the 2011 drought and poor harvest and many inhabitants are already facing severe food insecurity, according to the government and aid agencies. Though assessments are still under way, the government estimated late last year that just under half of Niger’s population would be short of food this year. Read more…
See also: BBC report on Doctors of the World pulling out of Mali. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-16924177
Posted in Humanitarian Issues, North Africa, West Africa
Tagged aid group pulls out of Mali, Burkina Faso, drought, ex-Gaddafi fighters, Mali, Mauritania, MNLA, Niger, Tuareg rebels
By Mark Tran
n the mid-morning sun, Aminatou Gado takes her place in the queue, where she faces a long wait to have her 14-month-old daughter screened for malnutrition. Having already walked three hours to get to the dusty town of Bambeye, she will probably not leave before 5pm. Inside the adobe building dozens of other women, many breastfeeding, sit on the floor amid discarded flip-flops, waiting their turn. The test involves a simple, coloured cardboard strip wrapped around the child’s upper arm. If it tightens to the red band, the child is severely malnourished; yellow means moderate; and green means the child is eating enough.
Bambeye in Niger
“My child has fevers and colds, does not have enough to eat and I don’t have enough milk,” says Gado, 25, as her baby, eyes shut, sucks hard on a shrivelled breast. Gado has two other children after her twins died one month after their birth.
As Niger braces itself for a food emergency after late and erratic rains last year and a surge in food prices, humanitarian agencies are stepping up malnutrition screening so that children receive swift treatment to prevent permanent damage. It is also much less costly. Read more…
Al-Shabab fighters have closed down several aid agencies working in famine-hit Somalia, including some from the UN, accusing them of political bias.
Militants stormed aid offices in the towns of Baidoa and Beledweyne, which like many southern areas are controlled by al-Shabab, witnesses say.
Al-Shabab has long restricted the work of international aid groups but on Monday banned 16 groups outright.
Years of conflict mean Somalia is worst hit by the East African drought.
The lack of rain is said to be the worst in 60 years. Read more…
Watch Fergal Keane’s excellent report from Turkana highlighting the way that corruption at the top of the Kenyan political system has turned a long drought into a famine. KS