For several months, humanitarian agencies have been warning about a looming food crisis in the Sahel region–the semi arid band south of the Sahara that stretches across the African continent. A combination of rising food prices and poor harvests have made basic nutrition out of the reach of millions of people.

The focus of the crisis is in the eight countries in central and eastern Africa, and things are not getting better. The warnings have largely gone unheeded–and renewed conflict in parts of this region has hindered the delivery of humanitarian assistance.

I have found that Dispatch readers appreciate the occasional post that is just the facts. So, here are some facts and figures about the Sahel Crisis. And below that is a video from UNICEF that offers some more context.  This information comes from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Countries affected: Burkina Faso, Chad Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Cameroon, Nigeria and Senegal are are at risk of severe acute malnutrition.

Total number of people affected: Around 15.6 million

Vulnerable Children: 1 million children under five expected to suffer severe acute malnutrition. Another 1.9 million children under the age of 5 are expected to experience moderate acute malnutrition.

Conflict Displacement: 213,177 people displaced by conflict in northern Mali. This includes 118,117 refugees in Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Niger and Algeria and 93,433 internally displaced. The World Food Program has suspended operations in nothern Mali due to insecurity.

Needs: The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says it requires $724,537,917 to fully respond to the crisis. To date, donors have given $371,009,588, meaning there is a gap of 370,347,992, or 49%.

Top Donors.  

(As an aside…Go Canada! Way to hit — slapshot? — above your weight on this one.)

Here is a nice video from UNICEF that offers a concise explanation of the crisis.

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