Malnutrition and food insecurity, still a threat in rural Senegal

from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 19 Jun 2013

(Dakar, 19 June 2013): The UN Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Sahel, Robert Piper has just completed a visit to Diourbel to assess humanitarian needs and ongoing response activities. Mr. Piper visited a Nutrition Rehabilitation Centre and met with local authorities as well as beneficiaries of targeted food distribution and nutrition programs.

Diourbel was one of the regions most affected by the nutrition crisis in 2012. The nutritional status remains worrying in Diourbel, where a 50% rise in Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) admissions in April (from 444 children with SAM admitted in March up to 657 in April) has been reported. “Malnutrition and food insecurity remain a very real threat in rural Senegal. Fortunately the Government recognizes this reality too and has given the issue the priority it deserves.” said Mr. Piper.

Earlier this month, Mr. Piper met with the Senegalese Prime Minister Abdoul Mbaye to discuss the assistance being provided to vulnerable populations of the country, in particular the food insecure families and malnourished children. He plans to meet other Senegalese Government authorities in the near future.

“In Senegal today, in places like Diourbel, the humanitarian community is working hand in hand with the Government to break such cycles of crisis once and for all,” added Mr. Piper. It is estimated that over 128,500 people are still food insecure in Senegal. As of today, the country has only received 32 percent of the US$52 million (FCFA26 billion) requested.

The Regional Humanitarian Coordinator remains very concerned about the situation in the Sahel region where recurrent food crises compounded to the Mali conflict are eroding resilience of the most vulnerable households. Humanitarian partners estimate that more than 11.4 million in the Sahel region need urgent food assistance.

The food security and nutrition situation is expected to remain critical during the lean season. The humanitarian community has appealed for $1.7 billion to help millions in need this year in the Sahel region. The appeal is only 36 per cent funded. 70 percent of the resources go to nutrition and refugee issues. But agriculture has only received 12 percent of the required funds. Other priorities include health, water and sanitation programs. More funding is urgently needed to help vulnerable communities recover faster.

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