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2014 Humanitarian Needs Overview - Sahel Region

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1 Food Insecurity

As of December 2013, an estimated 20 million people, one in eight inhabitants of the Sahel region, suffer from food insecurity. Among them, more than 2.5 million are in crisis conditions and require urgent life saving food assistance. For the remaining millions living in stressed food security conditions, the risk of falling into crisis and emergency levels is significant. They will have to cope with deteriorating conditions during the lean season and are likely to face recurring shocks such as floods, drought, epidemics or conflict.

2 Malnutrition

About 577,000 children die of malnutrition and health related consequences each year in the Sahel. Malnutrition prevalence remains alarming among children under-five, not only at the peak of the lean season, but also in post-harvest periods. In 2014, 1.5 million children are expected to suffer from severe acute malnutrition and an additional 3.3 million from moderate acute malnutrition. Chronic poverty and limited access to quality health services, as well as poor access to clean drinking water and sanitation in rural areas are critical drivers of appalling levels of child mortality and malnutrition in this region.

3 Conflict-related needs

Conflict and insecurity continue to affect the Sahel region, causing death, displacement and destruction of property, health facilities and schools, and exacerbating food insecurity and malnutrition. As of December 2013, the Sahel region hosts approximately 724,000 refugees and 495,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs). Refugees, IDPs and their host communities are particularly vulnerable to food insecurity, malnutrition, epidemics and disasters associated with natural hazards.

4 Epidemics-related needs

Measles, meningitis, cholera and Lassa fever affected at least 100,000 people in 2013, resulting in over 1,000 deaths. Case fatality rates remain abnormally high despite existing prevention means such as vaccines.
Most countries have a high seasonal incidence of malaria. HIV remains a concern and some epidemics, such as dengue, are under-reported.

5 Disasters-related needs

Recurrent disasters associated with natural hazards such as drought, floods and animal pests (e.g. locusts) continue to affect populations throughout the Sahel belt. In 2013, close to half a million people were affected by floods alone.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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