Sahel Region: Number of People on Brink of Starvation, Displaced Worsening, UN Agency Cries Out

Akanimo Sampson

Akanimo Sampson

The displacement crisis in the Sahel region of Africa has shot up by nearly 400 per cent just as its food crisis has become horrendous.  The United Nations emergency food relief agency is warning that the number of people on the brink of starvation has “increased almost tenfold” over the past three years.

Executive Director of World Food Programme (WFP), David Beasley, is appealing for more humanitarian support to  “stares down a horrendous food crisis”, and “displacement by nearly 400 per cent”.

The vast Sahel, which runs nearly the breadth of the continent, south of the Sahara Desert, is experiencing some of its driest conditions in years. “An absolute crisis is unfolding before our eyes”, Beasley said from Benin, after visiting the agency’s operations in Niger and Chad.

Insecurity, poverty, inflation

In just three years, the number of people facing starvation has skyrocketed from 3.6 to 10.5 million, in the Sahelian nations of Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger.

And insecurity, COVID-induced poverty, dramatic food cost increases and other compounding factors, have put those countries and others in the region, on a trajectory that would surpass any previous crises.

“I’ve been talking with families who have been through more than you can possibly imagine”, Mr. Beasley said. “They have been chased from their homes by extremist groups, starved by drought and plunged into despair by COVID’s economic ripple effects”.

While the needs are sky-high, resourcing to support the vulnerable is at rock bottom, forcing WFP into the difficult position of having to take from the hungry, to feed the starving, he said.

For example, funding shortages in Niger mean that WFP is halving food rations.

The UN food relief agency requires $470 million for the next six months to continue operations in the Sahel.

Despite a challenging security context, last year WFP worked with humanitarian partners there to maintain lifesaving support for 9.3 million people across the five countries.

Helping to change lives

WFP has also been implementing resilience-building programmes to help families thrive.

Over the last three years, it has partnered with communities to turn 270,000 acres of barren Sahel fields into productive agricultural and pastoral land, changing the lives of over 2.5 million people.

Communities that have benefited from the resilience-building activities there have been empowered to grow enough food to feed themselves and diversify their productions and income – faring relatively better against the unprecedented food crisis.

Meanwhile, the threat of conflict spilling across from neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger is leaving Benin on tenterhooks.

And despite that the government-funded school-feeding programme – jointly implemented by WFP – provides nutritious meals to 700,000 children and has been vital for creating jobs and strengthening the local economy, Beasley warned that the situation remains dire.

“We’re running out of money, and these people are running out of hope,” he said.

Our motto is: ‘We stand for the truth, irrespective of who tells it’. Driven by this philosophy, our aim has been to create a platform where every voice, every narrative – provided they are decently expressed –  is allowed expression. Our belief is that by promoting unfettered competition of ideas, the truth will eventually emerge. Obviously, doing this while resisting any temptation to be captured by any special interest or tendency makes survival as an online newspaper more challenging. This is why we will appreciate any support from our readers:

Bank details:

Account Name: The News Chronicle
Bank: UBA
Account No.: 1022603956 (Naira)

Domiciliary Account  – dollar-denominated:
Bank:  UBA
Account Number: 3002835294 ($)

Please email details of your bank transfer to: publisher@thenews-chronicle.com or send them by WhatsApp to: 07058078841

Professor Jideofor Adibe

Publisher

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Follow Us For More

Related Posts

ADVERTISEMENT

What's New?

ADVERTISEMENT

Recommended