Sahel Drought Situation Report No. 7
AT A GLANCE – MALI FOCUS
The African Development Bank (AfDB) has emphasized the need for the crisis in Mali to be resolved quickly. West African Governments and the international community have been called upon to support peace efforts.
Almost 147,000 internally displaced people are facing food insecurity due to the rebellion in the Northern regions of Gao,
Kidal and Timbuktu. Another 160,000 have fled to neighboring countries.
Humanitarian access to the North is limited.
After power was handed back to civilian control, Mali’s ex-junta is reportedly still refusing to fully cooperate. An additional attempted counter-coup also recently occurred with fighting in Bamako killing 22. The North remains firmly in the control of the rebel and Islamic fighters.
Concern remains that the conflict in Northern Nigeria led by Boko Haram will spill into Mali and Niger as links exist with Ansar Dine.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is currently facilitating talks on the future transition of the interim government and has approved an ECOWAS “Standing Force” for later deployment.
LATEST DROUGHT SITUATION
Early warning systems and international organizations are reporting that more than 17 million people are now at risk of food insecurity in West Africa’s Sahel region due to a combination of drought, poor accessibility to food, high grain prices, environmental degradation and displacement due to conflict. From that number, 1 million children under the age of five are at risk for acute malnutrition, according to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
Per country: the drought is affecting 1 million people in Mauritania; 6.4 million in Niger; 3.6 million in Chad; 3.6 million in Mali; 2.85 million in Burkina Faso.
UN officials have launched a new appeal for urgent funds for the Sahel following a recent high profile visit to Niger. The UN World Food Programme (WFP) along with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is stressing the critical nature of the crisis in an effort to create support.
UN OCHA reports that US$923.8 million is required for humanitarian assistance. US$706.1 million has been raised so far. However, assistance for agriculture is funded at only 15 percent which could have longer-reaching negative effects on food production.
Acute food insecurity has reached Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) 3 (crisis) in the agro-pastoral areas of Mauritania. Areas in Mali, Niger, and Chad have also reached the crisis phase.
Most regions are not expected to surpass IPC 3 however, a disruption in humanitarian aid (whether from lack of funding or restricted access in conflict zones) could significantly alter the situation. Areas unable to be reached could reach IPC 4 (emergency) or higher.
Due to the conflict in Mali, seasonal migration of pastoralists is being disrupted between Mauritania and Niger. This situation, combined with the increase in refugees, could create pockets of IPC 4.
It would be prudent for Governments and humanitarian agencies to retain a certain amount of flexibility in their approach when accounting for the varying food security scenarios in the region.