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)
Due to the ongoing crisis in the Lake Chad Basin, Chad is now the seventh largest refugee-hosting country in the world with over 750,000 displaced persons, the majority of whom are refugees or Chadian returnees who fled from the Central African Republic, Libya, Nigeria, and Sudan. At the end of August, the Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Sahel called on the international community to ramp up its support in response to the multi-faceted humanitarian challenges affecting the country. (OCHA, 27 Aug 2015)
On 9 December 2015, United Nations agencies and partners launched the Sahel humanitarian appeal for 2016. The regional plan calls for US$1.98 billion to provide vital assistance to millions of people affected by crises in nine countries across Africa’s Sahel region. (OCHA, 9 Dec 2015)
As of 5 Jan 2016, the Strategic Response Plan for the Sahel was 44% funded. (OCHA, 15 Jan 2016)
Appeals & Funding
- Sahel Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) 2016 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
Three thousand and five hundred children in Mali are receiving free birth certificates following a sustained Plan project in the Timbuktu region.
Plan has already provided birth certificates to 500 children in the region through a previous project in 2014. The present initiative is targeting mostly IDPs and returning refugees in 30 communities and districts affected by the conflict in northern Mali, in the Timbuktu region.
No certificate, no future
January 2014: The occupation of northern Mali changed the lives of all those who lived under its militant rule, but children were the most vulnerable.
In Timbuktu, Plan Mali has created child-friendly spaces where children can safely play, dance and learn within a supervised space to help them recover from the conflict.
Alors que l'appel pour le Sahel des Nations Unies se tient ce lundi 3 février 2014 à Rome, 11 organisations humanitaires tirent la sonnette d'alarme sur la situation alimentaire extrêmementcritiquedanslenord du Mali et appellent à uneaugmentation immédiate du financement de l'aide humanitaire d'urgence.
Plus de 800 000 personnes ont besoin d'une assistance alimentaire immédiate au Mali.
Bamako, Mali: Ahead of the Sahel Appeal to be launched by the United Nations on the 3rd February 2014 in Rome, 11 humanitarian agencies warn that northern Mali is set to face another serious food crisis unless funds are rapidly mobilised.
Posted by Jimmy Tuhaise, Plan Emergency Response Manager
Jimmy Tuhaise Ahead of World Humanitarian Day on 19 August, Emergency Response Manager Jimmy Tuhaise blogs about the impact of Plan’s work with children in conflict-hit Myanmar and Mali.
I’ve been doing this job for over 10 years. I like humanitarian work because it saves lives. What you do for a child within the first few weeks of an emergency or disaster makes a difference to the rest of their life.
Posted by Nigel Chapman, Plan Chief Executive Officer
5 June 2013, Burkina Faso: Some 280 kilometres north west from Ouagadougou lies Gouedebo camp in the Sahel region, home to 10,000 refugees who fled the conflict over the border in Mali last year.
L’exercice d’Identification avait pour objectif d’identifier la situation des Enfants Séparés (ES) et des Enfants Non Accompagnes (ENA) et son ampleur dans 04 régions du Sud (Ségou, Sikasso, Mopti et Koulikoro) afin de développer un plan d’action et intégrer une réponse aux besoins identifiés dans les activités de la Protection de l’Enfant.
London (22 March) – On the first anniversary of the Mali Conflict, the global children rights organisation Plan International is calling on donor governments to provide more humanitarian aid alongside military intervention budgets.
“There is a major imbalance which needs to be addressed by donor nations. Conflict causes huge, long-term disruption to people’s lives. Provision of shelter, reconstruction, and protection of children whose lives have been shattered by conflict need to be a top priority,” said Plan CEO Nigel Chapman.
January 2013: Take a tour of a Plan child-friendly space in Niger and see the support it is providing to children who have been forced to flee fighting in neighbouring Mali.
Plan installs child-friendly spaces after a disaster or crisis to give affected children a place to play, be safe, have a nutritious meal and receive emotional support to help them cope and recover.
Country faces double crisis as conflict continues
Bamako, Mali (22 January 2013) – Mali is on the verge of a major humanitarian crisis, the global organisation Plan International has warned. Tens of thousands of displaced people together with those trapped in the conflict areas are unreachable. In addition, the conflict is preventing farmers sowing the 2013 crop and there are fears that up to two million people will be affected a food crisis this year.
Segou, Mali (11 January 2013) – Scared Malians, mainly women and children, are on the move again following clashes between armed insurgents and the national army. They are fleeing towns such as Sévaré which is located 56km south of Konna – the town seized by armed insurgents on Friday.
“People are just fleeing Sévaré. They are leaving town using any transport available”, said Nouhoum Coulibaly director of GAAS Mali, a local NGO partner of Plan Mali.
23 November 2012: Minthi, 13, is one of hundreds of children who are getting their education back on track after being forced to flee violence in northern Mali, thanks to Plan-supported ‘catch-up’ lessons.
Eight months ago, Minthi arrived in Segou, southern Mali, with her family, leaving conflict behind. She registered at the local school but doesn’t speak the local language and soon fell behind in her studies, despite tremendous effort.
The school facilities were crowded with many other new students just like Minthi, and she considered dropping out.
SEGOU, Mali (Oct 1, 2012) - He travelled two days by canoe down the Niger River and then 12 hours by bus to the town of Segou, 230km northeast of the capital, where he heard there were catch-up classes.
Oumar, 16, was preparing for exams when insurgents overran his historic town of Timbuktu. The town was first captured in March by fighters from the Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) who want an independent state in north Mali. Weeks later, Islamist extremists seized the town from them.
By Terry Ally
BAMAKO, Mali (1 October 2012) - While many of their friends returned to school last week after the summer break, Mamadou and Bamba headed back to work in the gold mines in southern Mali. Both are from farming families whose crops failed to yield a large enough harvest last year resulting in both boys having to find work to support their families.
A survey carried out by four aid agencies in Mali found that there had been an increase in the number of such children who left home to find work to help.
By Terry Ally
Ougadougou, Burkina Faso (October 1, 2012) – When the Taureg fled the fighting in north Mali into neighbouring Burkina Faso they brought part of their culture with them – the practice of child marriage.
When one raises the question of early childhood marriage in the refugee camps they close ranks and shy away from the subject.
Emergency relief supplies have landed in Niger for victims of severe floods, which struck the regions of Tillabéri and Dosso.
The supplies, donated to Plan by Irish Aid in Dublin, include tents, tarpaulins, jerry cans, mosquito nets and blankets. It is part of the continued commitment by the Irish government to the people most in need in crisis-hit Niger.
The plane was met by Plan's country director in Niger, Rheal Drisdelle, who formally presented the supplies to government representatives.
NAKIN FADA, Niger (Sep 2012) – The “lean season” is a normal part of the life of farming communities in Africa’s Sahel region.
Even in the best of years, there is still that period between the granaries reaching dangerously low levels and the next harvest when their income spikes, from the sale of the agricultural produce.
Plan International’s Press Officer for Emergencies & Disasters, Terry Ally, is travelling through the three countries of the Sahel which are most affected by the complex emergency of the Sahel Food Crisis. These are diary entries from each country.
As the plane flew over Niger the familiar sight of the red desert sand and arid environment came into view. I was here two years ago when the new government declared a food crisis emergency and appealed for international assistance.
Aid workers brace for influx of refugees and IDPs
BAMAKO, Mali – The international children’s charity, Plan International, is warning that internally displaced children (IDPs) sheltering in Mopti may become displaced again after a nearby town fell to Islamist forces on Monday.
The insurgents reported that they regained control of Douentza after they disarmed the local militia without a fight.
Posted by Francoise Kabore, Plan Burkina Faso Communications Manager
30 August 2012: Milk seems more precious than gold to Tuareg families who are struggling to keep their culture alive in the refugee camps, blogs Francoise Kabore, Plan’s communications manager in Burkina Faso.
Over the past weeks when I have travelled to the Mentao refugee camp, I have had the chance to talk with Tuareg refugees. In our conversations, the topic will go from their current situation in the camps, to the violence back home in Mali, their families, their herds and then to food.