DAKAR, Senegal (AP) – West Africa is facing its worst food crisis in a decade due to increased conflict, droughts, floods and war in Ukraine, nearly 1,000 people said on Tuesday. a dozen international organizations in a report.
The number of West Africans in need of emergency food aid has nearly quadrupled from 7 million in 2015 to 27 million this year in countries like Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad, Mali and Nigeria, where thousands have also been displaced due to rising Islamic extremist violence, the report says.
That number could rise to 38 million by June if action is not taken quickly to help people in the Sahel, the vast region south of the Sahara Desert, the groups have warned.
“Cereal production in parts of the Sahel has fallen by about a third compared to last year. Family food is running out. Drought, floods, conflict and the economic impacts of COVID-19 have forced millions of people off their land, pushing them to the brink,” said Assalama Dawalack Sidi, Oxfam’s Regional Director for South Africa. West and Center.
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Children are suffering deeply, with United Nations estimates that some 6.3 million children aged 5 and under will suffer from acute malnutrition this year. Young girls will also face the brunt of the problem, being forced into early marriage or facing gender-based violence as food becomes scarce, the 11 international organizations have said.
Drought and poor distribution of rainfall have reduced food sources in many communities in the central Sahel region, according to the report. Food prices have risen by up to 30% in West Africa, he added.
World prices rose as trade was halted by war in Ukraine, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Wheat availability will also be heavily affected in six West African countries that import at least 30% of their wheat from Russia and Ukraine, he added.
The crisis in Europe is also leading to cuts in aid funding to Africa and $4 billion is needed to provide adequate support to the continent, according to the report.
“Ukraine is receiving the right level of solidarity and care, this level should be the standard for responses to all crises, everywhere else,” said Moumouni Kinda, CEO of ALIMA.
The call comes on Wednesday ahead of a conference on the Sahel which, according to Oxfam’s Sidi, will be “a unique opportunity to mobilize the urgently needed food and nutrition aid and to prove that the lives of Africans are worth no less than those Europeans”.