Grave concerns persist for some 20 million people in the Sahel. Recurrent conflict, erratic weather patterns, epidemics and other shocks continue to weaken the resilience of households across a region still suffering chronic levels of food insecurity and malnutrition.
An estimated 20.4 million people remain food insecure at the start of 2015. At least 2.6 million people have already crossed the crisis threshold, 70 percent of whom are in Niger, Nigeria, Mali and Chad where insecurity and poverty compound food insecurity.
Epidemics continue to demand urgent attention in 2015. Besides cholera, meningitis, Lassa and yellow fever, more recently, Ebola has been posing a serious threat to the Sahel region and has already impacted Mali, Nigeria, and Mali directly.
Beyond the chronic threats of food insecurity, malnutrition and epidemics, violent conflict in and around the Sahel region has led to a surge in population displacement. The region begins 2015 with some 2.8 million people displaced; over a million more than in early 2014. With escalating conflict in northeast Nigeria, an estimated one million people have been internally displaced. Some 150,000 Nigerian refugees have fled to neighbouring Niger, Chad and Cameroon. The volatile security situation in northern Mali continues to have a devastating impact on civilians, hampering the return of refugees, affecting markets and preventing the full restoration of basic services. Some 133,000 Malian refugees remain in Mauritania, Niger and Burkina Faso and more than 80,000 Malians remain internally displaced. As in Nigeria, high levels of insecurity in northern Mali also greatly impact the ability of humanitarians to access those in need. (Sahel: A call for humanitarian aid, 12 Feb 2015)
Appeals & Funding
- Sahel Strategic Response Plan (SRP) 2015 EN/FR
- Humanitarian Needs Overview EN/FR
- 2014-2016 Strategic Response Plans: Sahel Region EN/FR; Burkina Faso; Cameroon; Chad; Gambia; Mali; Mauritania; Niger; Nigeria; Senegal
· During Q4-2014, FAO’s global cereal price index decreased by 7% year-on-year, but on average, it remained at the level of the previous quarter.
· Real prices of maize have fallen by 14% since Q4-2013. They are up 1% from Q3-2014 after the low in September/October.
· On average, real prices of wheat remained constant between Q3 and Q4-2014. Global wheat supplies for 2014/15 are up thanks to increased production and beginning stocks; thus price levels in Q4-2014 are 17% lower than a year ago.
The year opened with a worsening of the ongoing conflicts in Yemen, Nigeria and Ukraine, each with potentially major regional implications. Violence escalated in Sudan, as well as in Lebanon's Tripoli and along its southern border with Israel, and a deadly clash between police and militants in the southern Philippines threatened to derail the peace process there. In South Asia, both Bangladesh and Nepal saw political tensions intensify.
December saw a significant deterioration of the security situation – compared to the previous month – in nine countries or conflict situations in the world, including in South Asia (Pakistan and India), and East Africa (South Sudan and Kenya). There is a risk of increased violence in the coming month in Sudan, where major offensives are anticipated on the heels of a failure in the peace talks; in Sri Lanka, in the context of the 8 January elections; and in Haiti, where the current president could rule by decree unless parliament's mandate, due to expire on 12 January, is extended.
Snapshot 3–9 December
Philippines: Category 5 Typhoon Hagupit, locally known as Ruby, made landfall on 6 December over the town of Dolores in Eastern Samar province (Eastern Philippines). At least 49 of 81 provinces are potentially at high risk. The typhoon is moving very slowly, potentially subjecting each community in the path of the typhoon to high winds and torrential rainfall for much longer. 1.1 million people are affected.
Niger: 10,000 refugees arrived in Diffa region from Damasack, Nigeria. Most were fleeing forced recruitment by Boko Haram, and some unaccompanied children were reported. More than 105,000 people have arrived from Nigeria since May 2013, and the rate is increasing. The newly displaced are in a critical situation, and Diffa faces serious gaps in service provision.
Pakistan: Drought conditions in Sindh have affected nearly 1.7 million people; nearly 500 have died in Tharparkar, including 296 children. In FATA, the number of people displaced by the military’s operation Khyber One in the Tirah Valley has grown to 440,000 people, adding to 993,000 displaced by operations in North Waziristan.
Liberia: Two million children are thought to be affected by the consequences of the Ebola epidemic. High levels of unemployment are affecting income: 70% of households in a recent survey said they do not have enough money to afford food.
Snapshot 29 October – 4 November
Yemen: As a government was agreed by Houthi and other opposition parties, the Southern Movement announced a merger to represent all southerners in the campaign for independence. Houthi insurgents attacked the Sunni opposition Al Islah party headquarters in Ibb, while Al Qaeda killed 18 Yemeni troops during an attack in Hudaydah.
After a rainy season lull, South Sudan’s warring parties are preparing for major offensives with the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-In Opposition (SPLA-IO) this week launching attacks on Bentiu, capital of oil-producing Unity state (see our recent Conflict Alert). Hardliners in the government and the SPLA-IO appear determined to settle the conflict through war.
Central African Republic: In Ouaka prefecture, fighting among rival militias persists. Attacks on a number locations, including Bambari, have left dozens of people dead, and civilians have been executed. 3,000 people remain displaced from Bangui after violence began in the middle of the month.
DRC: A resurgence of ADF-NALU attacks in North Kivu are thought to have displaced 100,000 people, and killed at least 80. In South Kivu, there has been a significant increase in IDPs, mainly due to insecurity in Shabunda and Fizi territories. 7.3 million people across the country are estimated to be food insecure.
TRACKING FOOD SECURITY TRENDS IN VULNERABLE COUNTRIES
The Global Food Security Update provides a quarterly overview of key food security trends in vulnerable countries. Information is provided by WFP VAM field teams and partners.
• In conflict-affected south sudan, the food security situation is much worse than at harvest time in a typical year. Around 1.5 million people are expected to remain in Phase 3 (Crisis) and Phase 4 (Emergency) through December 2014.
Central African Republic: 5,600 people have fled Bangui after a new wave of violence killed at least eight and injured 56. WASH and health are priority needs among the IDPs. A UN peacekeeper was ambushed and killed on the outskirts of the capital. In Kemo, IDPs have been slow to return as tensions have increased: ex-Seleka attacked Dekoa market on 11 October.
Ebola in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone: At 1 October, the total cumulative number of reported Ebola cases across the three countries had reached 7,470, including 3,431 deaths. However, the Centers for Disease Control estimates that only 40% of cases are being reported in Liberia and Sierra Leone. Social tensions and insecurity are growing. Many of the 3,700 children who have lost parents to Ebola are being rejected out of fear of infection.
The U.S. expanded its aerial campaign against Islamic State (IS) militants in late September with strikes in Syria’s north and east. The operation, which targets both IS and fighters linked to al-Qaeda’s central leadership and the affiliated group Jabhat al-Nusra, risks alienating other rebel groups in Syria and strengthening support for IS.
Iraq:Up to 13% of IDPs are located in areas that are currently not considered accessible by humanitarian actors. The overall number and geographical spread of IDPs pose a major challenge for provision of assistance. Approximately 1.5 million individuals are in need of emergency food assistance. An estimated 580,000 people are in urgent need of emergency shelter assistance.
Ebola in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea: As a three-day countrywide shutdown came to an end in Sierra Leone, the UN Security Council set up a special mission to lead the global response to the Ebola outbreak. More than 5,800 cases have been reported since the beginning of the outbreak, including 2,800 deaths, and more than 13.5 million people are now considered in need of assistance as the impact of the epidemic spreads.
Ebola in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea: Transmission remains high, and case numbers doubled between the last week of August and the first of September in Liberia; in Sierra Leone 150 cases were reported for each of the last two weeks. Fewer cases have been reported in Guinea – 49 between 5 and 7 September – but the case fatality rate has been extremely high, at 65%.
The fight for control of Libya between the Misrata-led Islamist-leaning coalition and the Zintan-led forces is escalating by the day. Hundreds have been killed and thousands displaced in over six weeks of clashes and heavy artillery fire. The Misrata side emerged victorious in the battle over Tripoli’s international airport, taking control of the capital, and made advances around Benghazi, but the larger political divide remains unresolved.
Syria: Syrian refugee numbers have grown by a million in a year, and now exceed three million, while the journey out of Syria is getting tougher. 42 children were reported killed by government strikes over 29-31 August, while in IS-held areas there are reports of routine executions and amputations.
Syria: Only 41% of Syria’s public hospitals are fully operational. The latest in a number of local truces around Damascus has been agreed between state forces and opposition in Qadam. 191,369 people were reported killed March 2011–April 2014, mainly in Rural Damascus, Aleppo, Homs, Idleb, Dar’a and Hama, according to new UN figures.