Appeals & Response Plans
- Mauritania: Drought - May 2018
- West Africa: Ebola Outbreak - Mar 2014
- Mauritania: Floods - Sep 2013
- Sahel Crisis: 2011-2017
- Mauritania: Floods - Aug 2010
- West Africa: Floods - Jul 2009
- Mauritania: Floods - Aug 2009
- Influenza A (H1N1) Pandemic - Apr 2009
- West Africa: Floods - Jul 2008
- Mauritania: Floods - Aug 2007
Maps & Infographics
The British Red Cross has pledged more than half a million pounds to help people caught up in a growing and underreported crisis in Africa. Countries across the Sahel, an area stretching from Eritrea on the Red Sea to Senegal on the Atlantic coast, are experiencing acute food shortages brought on by the late onset of rains. Estimates suggest that more than 24 million people are affected. The situation is further compounded by separate conflicts in Nigeria, Central African Republic and Mali.
Background to the crisis
In Senegal two weeks ago, I spoke to Momodou Lamin Fye, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies’ west Africa representative, and Nathalie Bonvin, regional food security, nutrition and livelihoods delegate. They explained the urgent need for funds, if people are to be able to plant crops before the rains begin.
The British Red Cross West Africa Food Crisis Appeal launched in March. Three months on, what is the situation?
By Ellie Matthews April 5, 2012 at 9:30 am
So a food crisis stems from a shortage of food, right? Not necessarily. When communities are in food crisis, it is usually because people are unable to grow or buy enough to eat, rather than because of an overall shortage of food.
If a farmer’s crop fails – or their goats get ill and have to be sold at a low price – they will not have money to buy enough food, no matter how well-stocked the market is. Even if people can make a little money, a poor harvest will often cause food prices to soar unaffordably high.
The British Red Cross has released £125,000 from its Disaster Fund in an attempt to head off a looming disaster in the Sahel region of West Africa.
The money released today will support the International Committee of the Red Cross’ economic security work in Mali and Niger. The funds will also be used to provide emergency assistance as it is estimated that up to 13 million people are affected with the crisis complicated by the displacement of almost 200,000 people following unrest in Northern Mali.
To help stem the worsening food crisis across west Africa, the British Red Cross has launched its West Africa Food Crisis Appeal. More than 13 million people face severe food shortages in parts of Niger, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Burkina Faso and Senegal.
The Red Cross has worked in west Africa for many years. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has recently received £1 million from the UK government’s Department for International Development towards its work in the region.
Additional stress of food security
The Red Cross is carrying out assessments in the Sahel region of west Africa where millions of people are at risk of a food crisis this year.
Low and erratic rainfall and insect infestations have led to poor harvests and lack of pasture in parts of Niger, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Senegal and Burkina Faso. Communities are also dealing with high food prices and reduced cash flow from migrant workers sending money back to their families from Libya and the Ivory Coast.
Unless urgent measures are taken now, the Sahel region could experience a major food crisis.
An emergency appeal is being launched by the British Red Cross to help save the lives of millions of people facing severe hunger in West Africa. More than five million lives are threatened by conditions in the drought-prone Sahel region across Niger, Mali, Mauritania and Burkina Faso.