WFP West Africa Newsletter April 2014
A FORGOTTEN CRISIS IN THE SAHEL
WFP is concerned that a lack of funds could compromise efforts to support households in the Sahel, where many are still recovering from the crisis in 2012.
DAKAR- Two years ago, when the Sahel endured one of the most serious food crises in its history, we all stepped up. Humanitarian organizations provided vital support to populations in crisis, thanks to the extraordinary mobilization of governments, partners on the ground, and the international community, who listened and responded quickly to our appeal.
Today we face a new risk: trivializing and forgetting the Sahel. Becoming comfortable with malnutrition rates still above alert or emergency levels. Forgetting that, behind statistics, there are children that will never develop normally, men and women that will be unable to feed their families. And with this risk, the possibility that the Sahel will suffer yet another crisis.
Millions of dollars were invested in the fight against hunger. Families received food rations, children and pregnant women had access to treatment for malnutrition, rehabilitation programmes restored means of production. We saved lives but also made a commitment: to do everything possible so that tomorrow people in the Sahel could feed themselves and endure additional crises, especially drought.
We have already set up activities to build resilience, including Food-for-Work programmes and P4P (Purchase for Progress), a WFP initiative to revitalize the agricultural sector. We have helped returning refugees find work and become self-sufficient, developed programmes that aim to change lives, kickstart agriculture, create wealth, and contribute to economic development.
We cannot compromise our efforts in the Sahel, we cannot allow ourselves to backtrack on the progress we have made. If we neglect to support small producers today, if we do not fight daily to eliminate malnutrition, if we fail to give populations the means to meet their basic needs, we risk seeing a new major crisis arise.
We already know that the situation in the Sahel is troubling. Most people still have not recovered from the crisis in 2012, and an estimated 7.6 million are expected to experience crisis levels of food insecurity during the lean season between June and September, with more than 700,000 requiring emergency assistance.
We have the tools to combat these problems and avoid the worst, we have the human and logistical capacity. But we do not have sufficient funds. We know that early intervention and building resilience is less expensive than intervening after a crisis starts. WFP is always there to protect against the worst; now we’re looking to work towards a better future.