Aid package welcome to children threatened by food shortages in West Africa but more aid needed to avert humanitarian disaster, warns Save the Children

from Save the Children
Published on 21 May 2012 View Original

Save the Children welcomes the announcement by Minister Carr to increase humanitarian aid to the Sahel region of West Africa where 13 million people are at risk of severe hunger.

The announcement lifts the Australian Government’s aid package to humanitarian relief organisations responding to the West Africa food crisis to $20 million, still way short of the $128 million contributed by the Australian Government to help tackle last year’s food crisis on the other side of the continent in the Horn of Africa.

Save the Children’s Annie Bodmer- Roy who is in Niger, West Africa said, “We’ve been responding to the food crisis in West Africa since January and have been sounding the alarm for months, so it’s encouraging to see the Australian Government pledge more aid to save lives.”

“But we should not be complacent, the region’s lean food season is due in the next few months and if we don’t see a significant spike in aid dollars flowing into the Sahel then the world might face another full blown humanitarian disaster like the one we witnessed in the Horn of Africa last year. We have to avoid that happening again, or the international community will have itself to blame as children start dying of hunger.”

A report published in January by aid agencies Save the Children and Oxfam on the response to the Horn of Africa food crisis acknowledged the collective failure to take preventive action, as well as the failure to respond with adequate humanitarian aid when it was needed, and suggested that an earlier response could have saved millions of dollars and thousands of lives.

Save the Children says this time round wealthy nations like Australia have an opportunity to take decisive action and demonstrate lessons learned from the Horn of Africa food crisis.