Burkina Faso + 3 more

Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania and Niger: Food insecurity Emergency Appeal No. 05EA015



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In Brief



The situation

In 2004 and 2005, countries in the Sahel region experienced the worst locust invasion since 20 years coupled with low rainfalls and drought which have left the region with a severe food crisis and malnutrition. Reports from MSF and other sources indicate that almost 8 million people are threatened by the crisis in Niger, Mali, Mauritania and Burkina Faso. Hundreds of children are dying (particularly in Niger) as a result of the crisis. Reports show a shortfall in cereal production in Niger of approximately 15% compared to the average annual production over the last 5 years or a grain deficit of about 225, 000 metric tonnes, where cereal deficit has reached 70-80 % in parts of the country.

In Niger, according to UN sources, 3.6 million of the 12 million inhabitants are directly affected by the food crisis. Tahoua and Maradi regions are classified by the Niger government as among the most vulnerable. The rate of severe malnutrition in the two regions has reached 3 respectively 7 % while the rate of moderate malnutrition is 30 to 40%2. It is estimated that at least 167,655 children in the Tahoua region and 37, 160 children in Maradi region are suffering from malnutrition. The total number of extremely vulnerable people has reached 72,564 people in Maradi region and 327, 401 people in Tahoua region. Twenty-six villages in Tahoua region have not yet planted so they need fast growing seeds such as groundnuts. With the rainy season that has now fully set in, a good harvest is expected. However, if the rains stop before 15 September, 2005, the 40-50% of the farmers who sowed late would have a low yield or the possibility of another crisis in 2006.

Present estimates for Niger are that 350,000 children suffer from acute malnutrition, of which 63,000 could be severe cases. MSF-France has been operational in Niger for four years, and during the first 6 months of 2005 has provided severe malnutrition treatment to some 12,000 children less than 5 years of age in Maradi in (with about 10,000 during the course of 2004). The Africa Muslim Agency (AMA) is also providing treatment of children suffering from severe malnutrition. MSF-France also treated more than 1,000 severely malnourished children in Tahoua region between 3 and 27 June, and AMA treated 400 malnourished children. Additionally, the two organisations also treated people with moderate malnutrition. Concern Universal and Action Against Hunger are preparing to establish mobile nutritional recuperation centres in the Tahoua districts, but there are enormous uncovered needs.

The severe acute malnutrition among children is in the WHO emergency level range. Generally, people have been eating less than normal even during the lean season, gathering leaves and berries and digging up anthills to find leftover pieces of millet.

The livestock fodder has subsequently been affected. An alarming number of cattle, horses and donkeys have died - carcasses are visible throughout the hardest hit parts of Niger and Mali. As animals are the main assets for pastoralists and higher sales increase their buying power, they sell them to make up for their decreased market value thereby depleting their herds to dangerous levels. Increased availability of fodder will help to break this negative cycle strengthening the animals, ensuring higher income returns on sold animals thereby increasing the amount of disposable income available to pastoralist for the purchase of food. FEWS NET has published the following crisis indicators related to the crisis in Niger:

  • Unprecedented high food prices.
  • Scarcity of local foodstuffs.
  • Scarcity of animal feed.
  • Collapse of livestock prices.
  • Exodus/migration of entire households to neighboring countries in search of new employment.
  • Accelerated use of unsustainable survival strategies, liquidation of livestock, household assets and excessive felling of trees in fragile environments.
  • Malnutrition rates continue to climb.
Compared to Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Mauritania are not yet as affected, but are also reaching an alarming situation: Some 20% of the population in Mali is affected from food insecurity, and 26% of people in Mauritania are still suffering the effect of last year's locust invasion. In Burkina Faso, the government estimates that some 500,000 people need food assistance. The Government of these countries have appealed to the international community for assistance. However, the level of response has been low so far.

Given the situation described above, and the response so far, the Federation is launching this Emergency Appeal on a somewhat preliminary basis, to complement efforts in the four countries currently underway. It is understood that the operation will be revised in the following days and weeks to adjust to the evolving situation (operational adjustments to be conveyed in the form of standard Operations Updates, or a revised appeal if needed), together with revised budgets.


(1) For more about the national societies responding to this crisis, please click on the links below.

Red Cross Society of Niger - http://www.ifrc.org/where/country/cn6.asp?countryid=127
Mauritanian Red Crescent - http://www.ifrc.org/where/country/cn6.asp?countryid=114
Mali Red Cross - http://www.ifrc.org/where/country/cn6.asp?countryid=112
Burkinabe Red Cross Society -: http://www.ifrc.org/where/country/cn6.asp?countryid=181

Please also reference the prior reports associated with this operation:

- Food Insecurity; Minor Emergency no. 05ME022, issued 15 July 2005, available at: http://www.ifrc.org/cgi/pdf_appeals.pl?05/05ME022.pdf
- West Africa: Food Insecurity; Information Bulletin, issued 1 April 2005; available at:
- West Africa: Locust Invasion; Information Bulletin no. 1 and 2, available at: (http://www.ifrc.org/cgi/pdf_appeals.pl?rpts04/wa041010.pdf) or (http://www.ifrc.org/cgi/pdf_appeals.pl?rpts04/wa041110.pdf)

(2) Federation consultant's report states that "whereas wasting (global acute malnutrition -GAM) is an indicator of an acute nutrition deficit, stunting (growth retardation) is a marker of longer-term chronic food insufficiency and more than 40% is considered very high by the WHO.

For further information specifically related to this operation please contact:

In Niger: Langdon Greenhalgh, Dakar Regional Delegation Sahel Operation Team leader, Email ifrcsn44@ifrc.org: Phone: 227 73 26 41, Mobile phone: +227.40.50. 02

In Senegal: Alasan Senghore, Federation Head of Regional Delegation for West and Central Africa, Dakar; Email: ifrcsn21@ifrc.org; Phone: +221.869.3641; Fax 22. 860.2002.

In Geneva: Madeleine Lundberg, Federation Regional Officer for West and Central Africa, Africa Dept; Email madeleine.lundberg@ifrc.org ; Phone +41.22.730.43.35 ; Fax 41.22.733.03.95

Roy Probert, Media and Public Relations Officer; Phone: +41 22 730 4296; email: roy.probert@ifrc.org

All International Federation assistance seeks to adhere to the Code of Conduct and is committed to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable. For support to or for further information concerning Federation programmes or operations in this or other countries, or for a full description of the national society profile, please access the Federation's website at http://www.ifrc.org

For longer-term programmes, please refer to the Federation's Annual Appeal.

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