'Immediate action' needed in West Africa

Donors need to take immediate action now to save millions of people in West Africa from an impending food crisis, Oxfam said Monday.

In a press release, Oxfam said early reports place 6 million people in Niger, 2.9 million in Mali, 700,000 in Mauritania and more than 2 million in Burkina Faso at risk of being directly affected by a food crisis next year. Meanwhile, the report says 13 of the 22 regions in Chad could be affected by food insecurity.

“Low rainfall and water levels, poor harvests and lack of pasture, high food prices and a drop in remittances from migrants are all causing serious problems,” the aid agency said.

Food is available at some markets, but Oxfam’s regional humanitarian coordinator Nahuel Arenas said people simply cannot afford it. Prices of key cereals are 40 percent higher this year.

“The international community can still avoid the worst if we act together now,” Arenas said.

Oxfam echoed the same calls made by EU aid chief Kristalina Georgieva last week on donors needing to step in West Africa, particularly in the Sahel region, before it is “too late” and costs become “more expensive.”

About 10 million people were affected by the food crisis in Sahel last year. The numbers can get worse.

Read more:

Read more development aid news online, and subscribe to The Development Newswire to receive top international development headlines from the world’s leading donors, news sources and opinion leaders — emailed to you FREE every business day.

About the author

  • Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.