Sahel Drought Situation Report No. 8
LATEST DROUGHT SITUATION
Approximately 18 million people are facing a food and nutrition crisis 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, 1.1 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 the following number of people: Mauritania: 700,000; Niger: 6.4 million; Chad: 3.6 million; Mali: 4.6 million; Burkina Faso: 2.1 million; Senegal: 739,000.
Cameroon, The Gambia and Nigeria are also affected to a lesser degree.
Ongoing civil unrestin Northern Mali continues to aggravate the already tenuous food security situation. Aid groups continue to have very limited access to those in need of emergency assistance.
Desert locusts are also posing a threat to Mali and Niger. Recent rains in Northern Mali and Niger have helped increase the swarms. Insecurity in the region is hampering control operations according to the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), which recently launched an appeal. The entire region is on high alert (France and the EU have responded with US$2.5 million to cover immediate needs).
Ironically, the upcoming rainy season will limit access to many areas due to flooding. Aid agencies are warning that action must be taken now to reach the most vulnerable populations.
Cereal production in the region is down by 26% compared to last year, according to findings presented at the Food Crisis Prevention Network Meeting in April, 2012.
The Center for the Prevention of Drought in the Sahel (CILSS) is emphasizing the extreme lack of international financing for the agricultural sector (funded at only 20 percent). The consequence is increased vulnerability to food insecurity and the danger of similar conditions being repeated during the next rainfall deficit.
Most regions are not expected to surpass Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) 3however, 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, most notably in Mali, could reach IPC 4 (emergency) or higher.
ECOWAS, UN agencies, NGOs and the International Committee of the Red Cross launched an appeal for additional resources that are necessary to “effectively address the humanitarian needs of the affected populations in the Sahel”. This followed a meeting of the partners in Dakar on 25 June and the appeal was presented at the 28-29 June 2012 ECOWAS Summit in Yamoussoukro, Republic of Côte d’Ivoire.