Concerns continue to mount in drought-stricken Sahel

“Famine fatigue” among donors is adding to growing concerns in Africa’s Sahel region, which is experiencing its third drought in 10 years.

Up to 7 million people in the eight countries across the Sahel are facing food shortage and hunger. The World Food Program said it needs $163 million to provide assistance for some 3.3 million people in the region. UNICEF, meanwhile, has appealed for an initial $65.7 million.

But some aid workers fear the looming crisis in the region will not generate the unprecedented response UNICEF and similar agencies have been calling for. The reason: It comes just a few months after the United Nations declared a state of famine in various parts of Somalia. Stephen Cockburn of Oxfam International noted “there is a real risk that people may think this is the kind of thing that just happens every few years,” The Associated Press says.

To be sure, there have been some early responders. The United Kingdom has announced aid for 68,000 children in Chad, Mali and Niger, as well as aid for the vaccination of livestock in the region. The European Commission, meanwhile, doubled its aid for the Sahel to €105 million this year.

Along with their aid pledges, both urged fellow donors to act swiftly to avert the crisis in the Sahel.

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About the author

  • Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.