In the Sahel, extreme poverty, climate change, armed conflict and insecurity continue to threaten the lives of millions already living on the brink. These interdependent drivers are behind the staggering levels of structural, chronic and acute vulnerability present in the region. Where the chronic seasonal cycle is broken, progress and success can be seen. Where conflict hits, hard-won gains are quickly lost and new challenges appear.
Communities across the region remain highly vulnerable. In 2017, around 30 million people are expected to face food insecurity, and almost 12 million of them at crisis and emergency levels. Pockets of pasture deficits have been observed in certain areas of Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger, and risks of locusts have been identified in Mauritania and neighboring areas. The situation of people living in the conflict-affected regions of Mali and the Lake Chad Basin, is particularity critical.
In 2017, in the more stable regions of the Sahel such as Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Senegal, where needs are driven by chronic vulnerability, humanitarian action has been fully aligned with resilience and development frameworks.
Lake Chad Basin: The scale of suffering remains huge and is expected to grow: around 11 million people will require assistance in 2017. Humanitarian partners have requested US$1.5 billion to provide aid to 8.2 million people. While the response strategy focuses us on providing emergency, life-saving assistance, humanitarian actors are also calling for a collaborative approach to help address the deeper causes of the Lake Chad Basin crisis that include abject poverty, the impact of climate change, rapid population growth and under-investment in social services. At the Oslo conference on 24 Feb 2017, 14 donors pledged $458 million for relief in 2017 and an additional $214 million was announced for 2018 and beyond. (OCHA, 24 Feb 2017)
Mali: Needs remain high with more than 3.5 million people being food insecure and some 852,000 people in need of nutrition assistance. More than 37,000 people remain internally displaced. The majority of those in need of assistance are in Mali’s northern region. In April 2017, the Humanitarian Response Plan for 2017 for $293 million was only 11.6% funded. OCHA warned of destabilizing consequences, as the humanitarian situation is quickly deteriorating as a direct result of the conflict. (OCHA, 28 Apr 2017)
For 2017, the humanitarian community will require US$ 2.66 billion to help 15 million people, across 8 countries. (OCHA, 7 Dec 2016)
As of 2 June 2017, the humanitarian response plan for West and Central Africa was 25% funded. (OCHA, 2 June 2017)
Appeals & Funding
- Sahel 2017 | Overview of humanitarian needs and requirements EN/FR
- Sahel 2016 | Rapport de suivi périodique (Octobre-Decembre)
Response to the outbreak has lagged due to insufficient resources and coordination between humanitarian actors.
The hepatitis E outbreak declared two months ago in southeastern Niger is particularly affecting pregnant women. Of the 186 women admitted to the main maternal and paediatric health centre in the town of Diffa, 34 have died of severe complications related to the disease. According to the authorities, of the 876 cases of hepatitis E reported by 11 June, the majority of the sick are displaced people (nearly 248,000), and refugees.
For yet another year, Nigeria and Niger are facing severe outbreaks of meningitis C. Both countries are part of the ‘meningitis belt’, a region that stretches across the continent from Senegal to Ethiopia, and is particularly affected by the disease during the dry season. From 13 December 2016 to 14 May 2017, a total of 13,943 suspected cases, and 1,112 deaths, of meningitis have been reported from 24 states in Nigeria, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
For those observing the month of Ramadan, there will be few occasions when we feel the needs of others more keenly. The act of fasting will for many serve as a reminder that there are those who have known hunger throughout their lives – lives that will change little without a broader shift in circumstances.
That people suffer from malnutrition, in our world of plenty, is difficult to comprehend. That nine children die from it every minute, is difficult to express, because even one is unacceptable.
NEW YORK/NIAMEY, NIGER, MAY, 19 2017—Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has deployed several emergency teams to Niger to contain a meningitis outbreak that has killed 179 people since the beginning of the year. Working closely with Niger’s Ministry of Public Health, MSF teams have vaccinated more than 358,800 people in the most affected areas while continuing to monitor at-risk areas and provide medical care to those affected by the disease.
For more than three years, ongoing conflict between Boko Haram and the armies in the Lake Chad region has taken a heavy toll on civilian populations. Many have fled their homes and left everything behind to find refuge in other villages and eventually across borders. Authorities report that there are now more than 240,000 displaced people in southeastern Niger’s Diffa region, bordered by Chad and Nigeria. The majority of them were driven from home by violence.
The Consequences of an Ongoing Conflict
By Mari Carmen Viñoles, MSF Program Manager for the Sahel
For years, the Diffa region in southeastern Niger, which borders Nigeria and Chad, has suffered the consequences of the armed conflict between Boko Haram and armies of the area. According to Nigerien authorities, there are now more than 240,000 internally displaced people and refugees in the region. More than a third of them have been displaced twice or more due to the violence.
From December 2016 to April 23, 2017, 25 pregnant women died due to acute liver failure caused by hepatitis E in the main maternal and pediatrics health center in Diffa, Niger
Côme Niyomgabo has just returned from Mali where for more than two years he has been coordinating MSF’s work in the regions of Gao and Kidal, in the north of the country.
How has Mali changed in these two years?
Nigerian refugees in Cameroon are being forcibly returned to northeast Nigeria. In March 2017, three of them told MSF staff their stories.
Mayara*: “They did not explain why they were sending us away”
I’m originally from a village not too far from here, but fled to Kolofata in Cameroon more than one year ago because of Boko Haram. I came here to Banki four days ago.
The town of Rann in northern Nigeria was hit by an aerial bombardment on 17 January. The Nigerian armed forces have claimed responsibility for the strike which killed at least 90 people and injured hundreds.
Un bref bilan de nos opérations depuis le début de l’année.
Les mois de janvier et février ont vu la poursuite de nos activités sur les différents terrains.
A Kousséri, MSF a inauguré officiellement le bloc opératoire qu’elle a réhabilité et rénové. Désormais, les opérations chirurgicales y auront lieu avec un plateau technique de pointe, dans un cadre totalement adapté.
Mali: MSF warns about the use of humanitarian aid for political and military interests
The incursion of military and political actors in the humanitarian field is putting the provision of humanitarian aid at risk in Mali. This is the main conclusion of a report published this week by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) which analyses the continuous and harmful instrumentalisation of humanitarian aid in the country.