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Sahelian West Africa - Humanitarian Emergency Fact Sheet #4, Fiscal Year (FY) 2005

Format
Situation Report
Source
Posted
Originally published

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U.S. AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
BUREAU FOR DEMOCRACY, CONFLICT, AND HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE (DCHA)
Note: The last fact sheet was dated August 23, 2005.

NUMBERS AT A GLANCE
SOURCE
Affected population – Niger
2,700,000
Government of Niger, August 19, 2005
Affected population – Mali
1,000,000
WFP (1), August 5, 2005
Affected population – Mauritania
600,000
WFP, August 5, 2005
Affected population – Burkina Faso
500,000
WFP, August 5, 2005
Total Affected Population (2)
4,800,000

Total FY 2005 USAID Assistance to Niger, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Senegal, and Sahel Regional Locust Response: $133,892,006

CURRENT SITUATION

Regional Update

The Assistant Administrator of USAID’s Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance

(USAID/DCHA), Michael Hess, is currently on a 10-day trip to Niger and Mali to visit USAID-funded projects in affected areas and conduct humanitarian assessments with USAID Disaster Assistance Response Team (USAID/DART) representatives in the field. On August 26, Assistant Administrator Hess and the USAID/DART traveled to Gao Region in northeastern of Mali.

The U.N. World Health Organization (WHO) reported on August 26 that 31,259 cholera cases and 517 deaths have been recorded in Burkina Faso, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, and Senegal to date in 2005. Cholera is endemic to West Africa and cases are expected at this time of year; however, WHO reported that there has been an “unusually high incidence” of cholera this year. The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) announced plans to hold a meeting in Dakar, Senegal the week of August 29, to assess the scope of the outbreak and response to date, and to agree on priority actions to enhance future responses.

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reported on August 25 that low numbers of scattered solitarious adult locusts have been found in Mauritania, Mali, and Niger, and reports of limited locust breeding have come from Mauritania. Ground surveys supplemented by helicopters are underway in the Sahel to detect the first signs of an increase in the locust population. However, locust control operations in these countries have not been needed this growing season.

Niger Update

On August 23, Assistant Administrator Hess traveled with the USAID/DART to Tillaberi Region, where the Government of Niger (GON) reports that 823,000 people are vulnerable. As a result of locust infestation and drought in 2004, the region suffered a 131,000 metric ton (MT) cereal deficit, approximately 57 percent of the national cereal deficit. Regional government representatives stated that the region had not suffered a large number of animal losses since many animals moved to better pasture in Burkina Faso, Mali, and Benin.

The governor of Tillaberi Region reported that the 2005 rainy season has been satisfactory to date, and that 26 out of 30 meteorological posts throughout the region have recorded rain surpluses compared to 2004. According to a government crop production assessment, production is expected to reach 96 percent of optimal levels in areas planted if rains are favorable and continue until September 30, while production levels will be 82 percent if rains stop on September 15. The government crop assessment found that 217 out of 1,661 villages in the region were at risk for food insecurity as of July 31.

Assistant Administrator Hess and the USAID/DART also visited Dessa, Tillaberi Region, a village that benefited from a USAID-funded seed fair program. In the Tillaberi and Ouallam departments, USAID implementing partner Catholic Relief Services (CRS) conducted seed fairs in June 2005 during which 10,000 households received their preferred choice of seeds to plant during the 2005 agricultural season. Women beneficiaries planted cash crops, such as sesame and okra, in fields close to their homes, while men worked the families’ plots of millet, sorghum, and beans.

According to WHO and the GON Ministry of Health, 125 cases of cholera, with 15 deaths -- representing a case-fatality rate of 12 percent -- were reported in the Bouza Department of Tahoua Region from July 13 to August 24. A WHO mission assessed the area and delivered antibiotics and oral rehydration salts to treat the most severe cases. WHO has distributed cholera kits that provide treatment for up to 100 patients to treat severe cholera cases in the 8 regions of Niger.

WHO reported that a 6-day workshop for doctors and nurses on managing severe malnutrition began in Tillaberi on August 22. The workshop is the first in a series of similar training courses jointly implemented by WHO and the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

WFP reported that a meeting was held in Niamey on August 22 to implement WFP’s monitoring and evaluation plan for the first round of general food distributions. A post-distribution monitoring (PDM) exercise will be conducted using focus group methodology. On August 29, WFP will hold a training for all food aid monitors and program assistants on how to administer the PDM questionnaire.

WFP has appealed for $57.6 million through the Niger Emergency Operation (EMOP). To date, WFP has received $28 million in contributions, or approximately 49 percent of the appeal. Due to anticipated shortages of pulses for the 2 rounds of general distributions in August and September, WFP may reduce the pulses ration from 15 to 10 kg in the September round of general distributions.

Mali Update

On August 22, the USAID/DART met with the governor of Gao Region. The governor noted that patchy and localized rains in the mainly pastoral region had contributed to poor livestock conditions by bringing many herds together in concentrated areas, resulting in significant overgrazing. There were also reports of high animal mortality. In addition, in the small agricultural area of Ansango, grain-eating birds reportedly destroyed many crops this year.

The USAID/DART traveled to Djebok in Gao Region to observe the weekly livestock market on August 22. The animals appeared healthy, and relatively inexpensive wheat flour and rice were available from Algerian traders who had traveled to the market to purchase livestock. As the USAID/DART has seen and heard repeatedly, a significant number of livestock died this year, animal prices were low, and cereal prices were high. The price for goats was half the normal price for this time of year, and cattle prices were down by 33 percent.

On August 23, the USAID/DART traveled to N’Tillit, approximately 130 km south of the town of Gao, and met with local officials and community members. The situation in N’Tillit has improved significantly with the recent rains. The area along the road was thick with pasture and full of large pools of water, far better than conditions encountered in other parts of the affected regions. N’Tillit was the first community the USAID/DART encountered in which residents stated that 2004 -- with the locust emergency and only 56 mm of rain -- was considerably worse than 2005 with 196 mm of rain to date. The animals around N'Tillit appeared healthy, but residents noted that more than 50 percent of their animals, mainly cattle and sheep, had died earlier in the year. As encountered virtually everywhere in Mali’s affected regions, livestock prices were reported as approximately half of normal, and grain prices approximately double, diminishing the terms of trade between livestock and grain.

From August 18 to 20, the USAID/DART assessed food security conditions throughout Timbuktu Region, visiting the districts of Timbuktu, Goundam, and Gourma Rharous. Failed rains and the locust emergency of 2004 decimated agricultural production and pasture conditions. As a result, terms of trade to exchange animals for grain became less favorable, making the purchase of grains extremely expensive for pastoralists. In this region, the USAID/DART observed hundreds of animal carcasses and received reports that areas lost of up 70 percent of their herds. Local leaders in Timbuktu Region agreed that while the present situation does not amount to famine and is not as bad as the 1984/1985 drought, real needs are present.

Footnotes:

(1) U.N. World Food Program

(2) Affected populations may have varying levels of need, from complete food distributions to little or no assistance.

MAP: Ongoing USAID programs in the Sahel (as of 23 Aug 2005)

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