11 June 2012 - Food crisis emergency worsens in West Africa: Save the Children launches urgent global appeal
Save the Children is today launching a global appeal to tackle the worsening food crisis in West Africa, where more than 18 million people are facing hunger.
The charity has already scaled up its emergency operations in the Sahel region of West Africa, but says they have a funding shortfall of almost US$40 million.
They hope to close that gap and raise extra funds to bring help to 1.5 million people – including almost a million children – most urgently in need. Save the Children New Zealand is aiming to raise $400,000 for this appeal.
The money will go towards life-saving interventions, including nutrition, health and securing access to food for the most vulnerable families in Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania and Niger.
“The situation in the Sahel is already appalling. In countries like Niger, families are struggling to survive on next to nothing, and children are paying the price. Our analysis shows how much worse it will get without additional support. The time to act is now. We are asking donors not to wait any longer. Any further delays are sure to cost additional lives of children whose deaths we know how to prevent – and can prevent, if we have the means,” said Save the Children New Zealand’s chief executive, Liz Gibbs.
Save the Children experts warn that unless families get that help they will be forced to take drastic measures to survive, selling their remaining assets to buy whatever food they can until they have nothing left to sell.
The charity says there are alarming gaps in the food available in the region, making it impossible for the poorest children and families to survive the year without urgent help.
In the past month, families in the some of the hardest hit areas have been struggling to live off less than half the food they need. With the lean season now starting, Save the Children warns the worst is yet to come.
“For months now, families have been telling us they have next to nothing to eat. In Niger, mothers have told us they have little or no food to feed their children. Our analysis now shows just how bad the situation has become, and confirms our worst fears: a major emergency is now upon us,” added Ms Gibbs.
Compiled with government, UN and other aid agency partners, Save the Children’s analysis shows that in parts of Mauritania, the poorest households are missing an estimated 80% of their basic needs for the months of June and July – and have already faced a deficit since January.