AFRICA is facing the worst food crisis in 10 years as over 27 million people are suffering from hunger while an additional 11 million could be pushed to hunger in the next three months.
It has been observed that West Africa is hit by its worst food crisis in a decade, with 27 million people going hungry.
It is also projected that the number could rise to 38 million by June, considering a new historic level and already an increase by more than a third over last year, unless urgent action was taken.
This alert was issued by 11 international organisations in response to new analyses of the March 2022 Cadre Harmonisé (CH), ahead of the virtual conference on the food and nutrition crisis in the Sahel and Lake Chad organised by the European Union and the Sahel and West Africa Club.
The 11 international organisations are Oxfam, Action Against Hunger, Save the Children, CARE International, International Rescue Committee (IRC), Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), The Alliance for International Medical Action (ALIMA), Tearfund, World Vision (WV), Handicap International – Humanité and Inclusion and Mercy Corps as released by Rita Abiodun, Communications Officer, Oxfam Nigeria.
A release from Oxfam Nigeria made available to journalists revealed that over the past decade, far from abating, food crises have been increasing across the West African region, including in Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad, Mali, and Nigeria.
It stated that between 2015 and 2022, the number of people in need of emergency food assistance nearly quadrupled, from seven to 27 million.
“Cereal production in some parts of the Sahel has dropped by about a third compared to last year. Family food supplies are 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,” says Assalama Dawalack Sidi, Oxfam’s Regional Director for West and Central Africa.
“The situation is forcing hundreds of thousands of people to move to different communities and to live with host families who are already living in difficult conditions themselves. There is not enough food, let alone food that are nutritious enough for children.
“We must help them urgently because their health, future and even lives are at risk,” said Philippe Adapoe, Save the Children’s director for West and Central Africa.”
Dramatic impacts for the future of children revealed that in addition to conflict and insecurity, pockets of drought and poor rainfall distribution have reduced communities’ food sources, especially in the Central Sahel.
To make up for the gap, many families are selling their assets, jeopardising their productive capacity and the future of their children.
Young girls may be forced into early marriage and other forms of gender-based violence may increase as food becomes scarcer.
“The crisis in Europe worsens an already disastrous situation as Food prices have increased by 20 to 30 percent over the past five years in West Africa. While food reserves are dwindling in the Sahel, the crisis in Ukraine is making the situation dangerously worse.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations (UN), food prices could rise by another 20 percent worldwide, an unbearable increase for already fragile populations. In addition, the crisis is likely to cause a significant decrease in wheat availability for six West African countries that import at least 30 percent, and in some cases more than 50 percent, of their wheat from Russia and Ukraine.
Another likely effect of the crisis in Europe is a sharp drop in international aid to Africa. Many donors have already indicated that they may make cuts in their funding to Africa. Humanitarian organisations are urging governments and donors not to repeat the failures of 2021, when only 48 percent of the humanitarian response plan in West Africa was funded.
They must immediately close the $4 billion funding gap in the UN appeal for West Africa to save lives and ensure that these funds support age-, gender-, and disability-sensitive interventions. No one should be left behind.