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Act now to stop hunger crisis in West Africa

Act now to stop hunger crisis in West Africa

More than 12 million people in West Africa are threatened with food shortages. Caritas says action is needed now.

A poor harvest in 2011 and high food prices risks pushing the people in the Sahel belt stretching across Niger, Mali, Mauritania, Chad, Burkina Faso and Senegal over the edge.

With the hunger season still to come, people across the region have already switched to survival measures such as rationing food, selling off cattle and leaving their farms to urban centres to find food.

It is one of the most under-developed regions in the world even at the best of times with the lives of over 200,000 children lost each year as a result of poverty.

Caritas in action

The Caritas confederation of over 160 Catholic aid agencies is mobilising to meet their needs in this large scale humanitarian emergency.

Caritas works through its national members and the church on the ground. Appeals have been launched for Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger.

Caritas Internationalis President Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga says the emergency in Sahel is a main concern, “The situation is grave, but if we act now it is not too late to prevent a major humanitarian crisis.”

Caritas is prioritising getting food to those most at risk, especially children, while its community workers are providing support to farmers such as seeds.

Please find all the latest information from the region, including updates on the work of Caritas, the voices of the people caught in the conflict, photos and more.