Friday, May 18, 2012

Sahel Region: New Report - Sahel Food Crisis Rapidly Worsening

sahel crisis

Leaders at the humanitarian organization CARE are calling attention to a new report showing that the vast food crisis in West Africa's Sahel region is deteriorating fast and now affects more than 18 million people in need of emergency assistance.

The new report from the Food Crisis Prevention Network comes as G8 leaders meet to discuss long-term solutions to recurrent hunger crises in Africa. The report indicates that, as of March, significant portions of every nation in the western Sahel were already experiencing "critical" levels of hunger. Worse yet, parts of Mali and Mauritania were suffering "extreme" levels of hunger one step short of the "catastrophe" stage.
Maps in the report show that additional large areas of Niger's most populous regions will reach critical food insecurity and a wide swath of Chad will fall into extreme food insecurity. The emergency is expected to intensify through the summer.

"We are in the midst of a huge crisis where millions of lives hang in the balance, so it is particularly timely the G8 summit will discuss food security in Africa this week," says CARE President and CEO Helene Gayle. "CARE urges G8 leaders to highlight the Sahel as they address long-term commitments to improving food security in Africa."

Recurrent cycles of drought and hunger in Africa will be one of the subjects covered this weekend during the G8 Summit at Camp David. CARE commends the U.S. administration for making long-term food security and resiliency a priority at the G8 and urges an immediate and appropriate response to the growing Sahel crisis. The new data from the Food Crisis Prevention Network, summarized in a report published by the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization and World Food Programme, underscores the urgency of the situation in the Sahel.

CARE's emergency response and recovery program is providing access to food via cash transfer and direct distribution, and improving access to water, sanitation and hygiene. At the same time CARE's long-term development programs such as women-led savings groups and cereal banks help people build and protect assets. CARE's experts on the Sahel, food emergencies and U.S. food policy are available for media interviews.