Posted on Thursday, July 5th, 2012 at 10:57 am
By Carol Morgan, Regional Director, Central Africa Region, Concern Worldwide
Hafiza Moussa is three years old and suffering from malaria. He is receiving treatment from a Concern-supported ward (CRENI) at the regional hospital.
I recently returned from the Sahel region of Africa, where a major humanitarian crisis is now unfolding, affecting an estimated 18.7 million people. In the Tahoua region of Niger, where Concern is responding, I saw children who, completely listless from the effects of malnutrition, could not hold down therapeutic milk in overcrowded feeding centers.
The United Nations now estimates that upwards of one million children are at extreme risk of severe acute malnutrition across this semi-arid belt of land along the Sahara desert. Even in ‘non-crisis’ years, 645,000 children die in the Sahel—35 percent of which are linked to malnutrition. This grim reality will never change unless we address the root causes of cyclical hunger.
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Posted on Monday, February 27th, 2012 at 4:11 pm
Paul O’Brien, Overseas Director, Concern Worldwide
Last week, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Assistant Administrator Nancy Lindborg announced a contribution of $33 million to support food security, nutrition and short-term cash assistance efforts across the West African region of the Sahel, bringing USAID’s total humanitarian assistance to the region to more than $270 million in fiscal years 2011 and 2012. The announcement caused barely a ripple in the US media, and many who heard the news may have even asked ‘What crisis?’ or ‘What’s the Sahel?’ As aid organizations, it is our responsibility to issue and amplify calls to action to respond in the Sahel, and to broadcast the important message that coordinated action now will save lives and prevent costly interventions later – and we have the evidence.
Millet is the staple crop that keeps most people alive in Niger, but this year, drought and poor harvests threaten to leave 13 million people in need of emergency food assistance by April. Photo: Tim Peek for Concern Worldwide US, Tahoua town, Niger
Right now, a series of factors—including volatile spikes in food prices, failed harvests and cyclical drought—have triggered widespread food shortages across the Sahel, according to the USAID Famine Early Warning System Network. Levels of malnutrition among children under five have already reached the internationally recognized emergency threshold of 15 percent in parts of many affected countries, which include Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso, Mali and Mauritania. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted on Friday, March 11th, 2011 at 8:51 am
Women in Gokwe, Zimbabwe, show their registration cards at a cash distribution point. Photo: Elena Ruiz Roman, Zimbabwe
By Cormac Staunton, Information Officer, Concern Worldwide
Sophia Chitsatse was 65 when I met her in Nyanga, Zimbabwe, a widow looking after four orphaned grandchildren. Although she was a farmer, she struggled to grow enough food for her family to last from one harvest to another. As a result, she had been receiving food aid rations from the World Food Program (WFP) for several years.
This is the traditional response to a humanitarian crisis, to directly provide people with what they need most. It is hard to argue with the logic; if people are starving, they need food. If people’s belongings have been washed away, they need essential items like soap, cooking utensils, and clean water. Read the rest of this entry »