Executive Brief: The Sahel Crisis 2012 (11 May 2012)
A new food and nutrition crisis is affecting millions of people across the Sahel Region of Western Africa this year, due to a combination of drought, high grain prices, decrease in remittances, environmental degradation, displacement of population coupled with chronic poverty and vulnerability.
More than 18 million people are facing food insecurity and more than 1 million children under the age of five are at risk of severe acute malnutrition.
The Food Crisis Prevention Network Meeting held in Paris (RPCA 12-13 April 2012) has confirmed that Sahel cereal production is 26 percent lower than last year. The most seriously affected countries include the Gambia (decline of 56% in relation to 2010-2011 and 40% in relation to 2006-2010), Chad (49%/22%), Senegal (36%/21%), Niger (31%/14%), Mauritania (34%/10%) and Burkina Faso (20%/5%).
The humanitarian situation, in particular for pastoralists, is a matter of very deep concern as insecurity due to the conflict worsens in Mali and food supply is disrupted. Extreme food insecurity cannot be excluded if this situation lasts two additional months.
Early warning (already launched by FAO in October 2011) was not followed by early funding and response. Only rapid action would prevent further deterioration of the food security situation and avoid a full-scale crisis.
The timing of livelihood support interventions in agriculture and livestock sectors is essential. Funds are needed now to support vulnerable farmers with the delivery of food crops and vegetable seeds in time for the main planting season, which begins in May/June 2012 and to strengthen herders through fodder, veterinary services and destocking activities before the rainy season.
Alarming lack of funds: FAO is requesting USD97 million for action in 2012 to support the resilience of almost 7 million people. A funding gap of USD 74 million remains (76 percent).