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 7 October 2016, the Humanitarian Response Plan for the Sahel was 32% funded. (OCHA, 7 Oct 2016)
Appeals & Funding
- Sahel 2016 | Rapport de suivi périodique numéro 2 (Avril - Juin)
- 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
A prisoner of climate change, Nouakchott faces challenges of flooding and erosion that have been exacerbated by preparations for the Arab League summit
By Alex Duval Smith
The two events are not unrelated. As heads of state fly into Nouakchott’s new airport for the Arab League summit on Monday, Vieux Fall will be raising the roof – and the floor – of his family’s small compound.
The male recovery ward in the hospital is all in blue: blue sheets, pillows, curtains. Outside, the temperature hovers around 40 degrees: inside, large fans keep the air moving. All the beds are occupied by adults – except one. Eight-year-old Abba is the exception.
How the tattered remnants of an Islamist sect transformed into a relentless terrorist army that Nigeria cannot defeat
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Scores of people, including children, have been killed in a Nigerian town by Boko Haram fighters who shot at villagers and set fire to their homes in the latest deadly attack by the Islamist militant group.
World Food Programme and Unicef warn that inability to access areas of north amid continued violence has left schools and health centres bereft of assistance
Alex Duval Smith in Bamako
Aid agencies have warned that security issues are harming the health, education and nutrition of children in Mali, where the unchecked spread of Islamic extremist violence has left many schools and health centres beyond the reach of humanitarian programmes.
Conflict can be both a cause of disability and a devastating complication for those already living with disabilities. Although all disabled people are affected, women face intersecting discrimination because of their gender and disability.
Read the story on Guardian
Failure to find political solutions in areas of violent crisis is forcing ICRC to extend its core humanitarian remit, says organisation’s president Peter Maurer
Wednesday 8 July 2015 09.54 EDT
The world’s inability to deal with the proliferation of conflict driven-crises is forcing the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to shoulder an ever-larger burden and reassess the way it works, the organisation’s president has warned.
Global weather system that plays havoc with weather across the world could exacerbate region’s dry spell and devastate Sahel as it did in 1972
A global weather phenomenon could cause a famine in the Sahel this year by combining with already dry conditions to create a “double whammy” for the region, scientists and aid groups have warned.
Read the full article
Lucy Lamble presents this edition of the Global development podcast, looking at how the lack of water and sanitation is affecting health centres in Mali. Just 20% of the country's health facilities provide clean water.
Smugglers are taking more illegal migrants through the western Balkans, but the route holds great hardships for a group of west Africans heading for Macedonia
After a 10-day trek over 150km, Sandrine Koffi’s dream of a new life in Europe ended and her nightmare of losing her infant daughter in the Macedonian night began.
After failed peace talks in Algiers, Mali is no closer to resolving the internal upheaval that is often oversimplified as a clear rift between north and south
Access to water is a crisis that can be fixed, says report that calls for it to be a priority in sustainable development goals. We look at Mali, the poorest performer
Lucy Lamble in Diatoula
Boko Haram violence underpins rising death rates among Nigerian citizens, while thousands also killed in Central African Republic, South Sudan and Somalia
The campaign of terror by Nigeria’s Islamist insurgency Boko Haram was responsible for nearly half of all civilian deaths in African war zones last year, according to research that highlights the group’s tactic of targeting non-combatants.
Why are WFP and UNHCR struggling to raise funds for humanitarian emergencies that don’t make the headlines?
It’s been called “disaster overload” – major crises in Syria, Iraq, South Sudan, the Central African Republic (CAR) and the Philippines have left the United Nations’ humanitarian response system reeling. But as media attention gravitates toward the major crises, there’s been little thought to the long tail of the humanitarian system.
By engaging communities and co-ordinating agency efforts, Niger hopes to end its perennial battle against food shortages
Celeste Hicks in Dogo, Monday 17 March 2014 10.33 GMT
Read the full story on the Guardian.
Chad hit by refugee influx from Darfur and Central African Republic as well as return of its citizens expelled from Libya.
Read the full report on the Guardian.
Food programmes aim to help tackle issues caused by flight and displacement, which have left many families without income
At the referral health centre in Gao, northern Mali, Halifatou Alousseini shares a recipe. The 20-year-old mother of three looks almost twice her age, a white headscarf framing a face that is weathered from life in the desert. She explains carefully how to make a nutritious porridge for children from local products, using beans, rice and millet.
Last year, the remote desert city of Gao in northern Mali, was under the control of Tuareg separatists and jihadist fighters. Nine months after French and Malian troops re-took the city, Mark Tran pays a visit.
Rescue plan backed by Unicef and aimed at 500,000 children hampered by teachers kept from the north by jihadist occupation
Read the full report on the Guardian.
Those displaced by climate change are not granted refugee status or protection. Their plight should not be overlooked
Migration has always been a way of life in the Sahel, an arid belt of land that stretches across Africa just south of the Sahara. Many of the region's 100 million inhabitants lived for millennia as nomadic pastoralists who moved with their herds in search of water and pasture.