Chad + 10 more

West and Central Africa: Humanitarian Bulletin - March 2017

Situation Report
Originally published


In this issue

LCB crisis: action urged to avert famine P.1

Huge needs amid fresh clashes in CAR P.3

Gambia’s post-poll crisis response P.4

Shaping up the New Way of Working P.6

Regional epidemics highlights P.7

Regional funding update P.8


  • International action urged to ward off looming famine in north-east Nigeria.

  • Mounting incidents of armed violence worsen the Central African Republic’s longrunning crisis.

  • Election risk preparedness and lessons learnt from The Gambia’s crisis.

  • Post-World Humanitarian Summit policy shift towards collective preparedness and response to alleviate human suffering begins to take shape.

Lake Chad crisis: quick action needed to avert famine

Tens of thousands of people are threatened by famine in parts of north-eastern Nigeria, which alongside other regions in neighbouring Cameroon, Chad and Niger are stricken by a long-running conflict that has displaced 2.4 million people and left 6.7 million critically food insecure.

In Nigeria’s north-east alone, 4.7 million people are struggling with extreme food shortages, and in the worst-affected and least accessible areas of Borno and Yobe states, severe forms of hunger have been registered, with more than 40,000 people estimated to be experiencing famine-like conditions.

UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, Stephen O’Brien, on 10 March urged international action to assist the millions of people grappling with hunger and prevent the situation from worsening.

“An immediate injection of funds plus safe and unimpeded access are required to enable partners to avert a catastrophe, otherwise many people will predictably die from hunger, livelihoods will be lost, and political gains that have been hard-won over the last few years will be reversed,” Mr. O’Brien said in a briefing to the Security Council on the threats of famine or declared famine in parts of Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen.

Timely funding

In the Lake Chad Basin, what began as a protection crisis has also become a major food and nutrition emergency and one of the world’s most severe crises. Nearly half of the US$1.5 billion needed for humanitarian assistance in the region in 2017 is earmarked for food assistance (US$645 million). The bulk of those struggling with alarming levels of food insecurity are in Nigeria’s north-east.

Oslo conference

At the 24 February Oslo conference on Nigeria and the Lake Chad Basin region, 14 donors pledged US$458 million for assistance in 2017 and an additional US$214 million was announced for 2018 and beyond.

Humanitarian organizations have ramped up operations over the past year, but persistent insecurity and funding shortfalls remain the major obstacles to adequate relief aid.

“Sustained and timely financial support is needed to maintain the scale-up in operations desperately needed in the north-east of Nigeria,” Peter Lundberg, the UN deputy humanitarian coordinator for Nigeria, said at the Oslo conference.

Supporting the mainstay

Ahead of the May planting season across the region, timely funding will be critical in shoring up agriculture and ease the burden of hunger through the June - August lean season.

Agriculture is the main source of livelihood of up to 90 per cent of rural households in the Lake Chad Basin. Communities here continue to suffer Boko Haram attacks. The raids and destruction have decimated livelihoods, and those who have fled the violence are struck by adversity in displacement sites and other areas of refuge.

With farming, trade and movement disrupted, prices of staple foods in most markets have risen in comparison with the past five-year average: by 50 - 150 percent for maize and by about 76 - 204 per cent for sorghum, according to FAO. Ahead of this year’s planting season, the agency is underscoring the importance of providing tools, seeds and livestock in time to help stave off a possible deterioration of the crisis.

In Nigeria, FAO has budgeted US$20 million which is needed by mid-March at the latest, as distribution of inputs is to take place between April and June. For the 2017 main season, FAO is targeting 1.35 million people in Nigeria to be assisted through the distribution of fast-maturing nutrient-rich cereal and pulse seeds, fertilizers, seed production assistance, post-harvest storage, vegetable and fruit production, food processing and agricultural infrastructure rehabilitation.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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