Emergencies: food crises in the Sahel
The Sahel region faces another devastating food crisis this year. Millions are at risk of famine and malnutrition in West Africa, especially in Niger, but also in Chad, Burkina Faso and northern Nigeria.
As a result of the bad harvest and floods in several countries in 2009, this year’s food crisis is expected to become particularly serious.
Over 800,000 children under the age of five in Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, northern Nigeria and Chad are already classified as needing treatment for severe malnutrition.
The recurrent food crises in the Sahel are essentially caused by political failure and worsened by droughts, difficult natural conditions, price speculation and competition due to massive agricultural subsidies in developed countries.
As a direct consequence of the food crisis, people are leaving their villages in large number for the cities or neighboring countries. Schools in rural areas are closing down due to lack of students and fields not being farmed anymore.
Caritas regularly implements aid operations for the most vulnerable in the Sahel region. During food crises, Caritas provides emergency aid through free grain distributions, selling food at reduced prices and Cash for work activities.
Caritas also carries out rehabilitation programmes for a long-term improvement of food security. They include preventive measures, such as building up stocks and improvement of water supply, capacity building, encouraging income-generating activities in rural areas or supplying better tools, high quality seeds and fertilizer to farmers.
This year, Caritas is preparing to provide emergency food aid to almost 250,000 households in over 300 villages in Niger. Aid will be provided through free cereal distributions and cash-for-work activities, with a special focus on children and pregnant or breastfeeding mothers.
RESOURCESAnnual Report 2011Emergency GuidelinesEmergency Response Tool KitEmergency Appeals 2012Emergency Appeals 2011Emergency Appeals 2010Emergencies on Caritas BlogBridging the Gap between Policy and Practice