Niger border area food crisis eyewitness account
Thousands of people along the border with Niger and Burkina Faso are
being forced to leave their homes in search of food as a result of the
deepening food crisis in the Sahel region of Africa.
Christian Aid has sent and emergency task force to the north of Burkina
Faso to develop its programme of emergency feeding in one of the worst
Amanda Farrant of Christian Aid will be available to give an eyewitness
account of the conditions at Gorom-Gorom in the Sahel reserve near the
Niger border tomorrow morning, 4 February.
As a result of failed rains and widespread drought, Mali lost 11.8% of
total cereal output between 2010-2011, while in Burkina Faso it is
estimated that 41.47% of the country will face severe food insecurity,
and in Niger the government believe that more than half of the nation’s
villages are now running out of basic food.
Families in the Sahel are also being affected by the recent conflicts in
Libya and Cote d’Ivoire as relatives are no longer able to send money
home from these countries.
The most recent joint evaluation by CILSS, FAO, WFP and FEWNET conducted
in January 2012 estimates that in Niger, 5,458,000 people are food
insecure, including 1,324,000 at severe levels; in Mauritania, 700, 000
people – over one-quarter of the population – are food insecure,
including 290,000 people at severe levels in rural areas; and 1,671,178
people are vulnerable in Burkina Faso.
The results of evaluations are expected soon in Mali, Chad and Senegal,
but WFP and FAO estimate that 3,000,000 people in Mali and 850,000
people in Senegal live in areas at risk10, while earlier evaluations in
Chad estimated that 13 out of 22 regions could be affected11. Overall,
the European Commission estimates that at least 7 million people will
need support over the next six months.