How did the conflict start?
Tuareg rebels led a rebellion in the north of Mali in January 2012 in a bid for independence. The Malian military staged a coup in March 2012 and Timbuktu, Gao and Kidal fell to armed groups. The rebels broke off peace talks at the beginning of January 2013 and subsequently took control of Konna and Diabali, about 400km from the capital, Bamako. One of their aims was to introduce Sharia Law. French troops launched an offensive in early January 2013 and are supported by African troops. They recaptured Konna, Diabli and other towns as well as the airport at Timbuktu.
What are the effects of the conflict on Malians?
The north has seen aerial bombardments and heavy fighting and before the that rebel invasion of towns. Many people have fled the unrest either further south or to neighbouring countries. The UN said there were over 200,000 internally […]
The stability of Mali and its neighbours are at stake. Since early 2012, rebel forces have taken a huge area of land, starting in the north of the country and are now close to the capital, Bamako.
Military intervention led by France and with the support of African countries is underway.
Over 350,000 have fled their homes to go further south or to neighbouring countries since last year. Caritas Mali says that people urgently need shelter, food, water and hygiene articles.
“We’re tired, we’re very tired,” said Ibrahima Diallo, who fled south from his home near Timbuktu, in the north of the country.
Caritas in Mali has been working with Catholic Relief Services (a US member of Caritas) on development projects which have been continuing during the time of unrest.
The director of Caritas in the town of Mopti, which lies in the path of rebel advancement says,“Giving those who have been displaced somewhere […]
Par Ryan Worms Au Burkina Faso, l’OCADES (Caritas Burkina) et ses partenaires internationaux poursuivent la mise en œuvre du projet d’aide aux populations victimes de la crise alimentaire dans 10 des 13 régions du pays. L’intervention menée ces derniers mois offre une assistance vitale à des milliers de familles parmi les plus vulnérables face à la faim et aux conséquences de la mauvaise saison agricole passée.
By Alistair Dutton, Caritas Internationalis Humanitaian Director
After what has been a very trying and anxious time for the people of Burkina Faso this year, it is a great pleasure to be with them at harvest time. The rains have been much better than recent years and the country is buzzing with life; the ponds, lakes and reservoirs are full with copious water lilies in bloom; the land is lush and verdant, the animals are healthy and lively; the crops, those that haven’t been harvested yet at least, are tall and heavy with grain. The roads are full of motorbikes loaded up with crates of vegetables being taken to market, while lorries from Ghana trawl the villages to buy grain and vegetables to take down to the markets of Tamale, Kumasi and Accra.
Thanks to Caritas this year, Jean Baptiste Kinda is preparing to harvest his tomatoes, aubergines and other vegetables, […]
By Rev. Msgr. Robert J. Vitillo, Head of Caritas Internationalis Delegation to the UN in Geneva On 02 July 2012, Floriana Polito and I had the pleasure of convening some influential figures in the fight against hunger and poverty. Caritas Internationalis, together with Oxfam, held an important side event focused on human rights in the context of the food crisis in the Sahel region of Africa; it was held at the Palais des Nations in conjunction with the 20th Session of the UN Human Rights.
By Richard Clemence, special correspondent to Secours Catholique (Caritas France)
“My field of millet was devastated by drought last season. I could only raise a few pounds, while normally I produce several hundred,” said Francois Merega, an old farmer in north-western Burkina Faso. Sitting in the courtyard of his house, the man describes his family’s precarious situation.
In front of the house stands the family’s granary. Since February, it has been hopelessly empty. “The last harvest was not enough to feed the fourteen members of my family over four months,” said Merega. “So we’ve been forced to buy food at the market.” But in these difficult times, markets are also running short of grain. Where grain is available, the prices are too high for the country’s small farmers, who make up over 80 percent of the population.
The price of fifteen kilograms of millet has doubled in just a few months. “That […]
What is the humanitarian situation in West Africa’s Sahel region?
More than 12 million people will face acute food shortages in the Sahel region of West Africa unless early and effective action is taken now to prevent the crisis.
People in Niger, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso and Chad are already suffering from a lack of food with the ‘lean’ season still to come. In the worst affected areas, people have already started to ration food to one meal a day, sell off cattle or leave their farms for urban centres.
We must not wait until there are images of starving children on our TV screens. By acting now we can ensure the food crisis does not deteriorate.
What has led to a food crisis in West Africa?
Poor rains and drought last year and pest infestation means this year’s harvest will not produce enough food. A spike in regional food prices has left people […]
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 […]
“The sound of gunfire woke us up,” said Mr Mahmouda, who fled his village in Mali after it came under attack from rebels. “Although we were not directly threatened, we were scared. We took all we could carry and fled in the direction of Niger,” he told Caritas Niger.
Some 120,000 people have been forced out of their homes in Mali as conflict flares in three out of eight provinces. The fighting comes as the Sahel region of West Africa faces a food crisis predicted to leave more than 10 million people hungry this year.
A small number of Tuareg-led rebels re-ignited their rebellion last month. Bolstered by fighters and weapons spilling out of last year’s conflict in Libya, the rebels, known as the MNLA, have launched a series of attacks against military outposts. The government, which also faces elections and the food crisis, is struggling to respond.
More than 60,000 people […]
Zaki can’t afford to feed his family this year. He’s a young teacher in Burkina Faso. It’s one of a string of West African countries where food is getting scarce. The price of corn has increased so much Zaki can’t afford to buy it. His family must rely on their reserves of rice, but supplies dwindle each day.
Dassala and his family are hanging in for the moment. He is an elderly man, too old to provide for his family. His wife’s business isn’t looking so good. So they must rely on their son, an apprentice mechanic, to provide food. But it’s not enough, especially if food prices continue to rise.
“Thousands of families no longer know where to turn,” says Flavien Batiano of OCADES-Caritas Burkina Faso. “When food prices go up, people cope by migrating, selling livestock cheaply, turning to risky things like gold mining or fighting over grazing land […]
Après la Corne de l’Afrique, c’est la région du Sahel qui est à nouveau confrontée à une crise alimentaire croissante. En 2010, 10 millions de personnes avaient déjà été affectées par une grave crise alimentaire. Cette année, on note des baisses importantes des productions agropastorales dans certaines zones du Sahel. Alors que les prix alimentaires sont élevés, cette situation compromet fortement l’accès à la nourriture des ménages les plus pauvres.
Caritas Internationalis suit de près la situation avec le Groupe de Travail sur le Sahel. L’objectif est d’établir une stratégie commune d’intervention susceptible d’orienter le travail de tous les membres de la confédération impliqués dans la région.
Des évaluations approfondies des besoins sont en cours dans les différents pays de la région. Caritas Internationalis est en communication constante avec Caritas Niger, Caritas Mali et Caritas Burkina Faso les trois pays les plus exposés à la crise. Le travail a donc déjà […]
Food emergencies are not inevitable in the Sahel according to Caritas. The region and the international community need to show greater political will to fight the problems.
“The recurrent food crises are essentially a political problem, worsened of course by droughts and difficult natural conditions “, said Fr. Ambroise Tine, Secretary General of Caritas Senegal.
The Sahel could face a devastating food crisis this year. Millions are at risk of famine and malnutrition in West Africa, especially in Niger, Chad, northern Burkina Faso and northern Nigeria.
Experts believe that the coming emergency could be particularly serious, mostly because of the bad harvest and floods in several countries last year.
“The governments of the Sahel countries are not doing enough to fight the problems, especially the lack of water supply and price speculations on the markets. Competition caused by massive agriculture subsidies in developed countries only worsens our problems”, said Fr. Tine.
At the end […]