Lack of funds and logistical delays leave hundreds of thousands starving as food crisis hits peak in West Africa
Millions of hungry people across the Sahel likely to receive no aid
Insufficient funding and delays in food delivery threaten the lives of hundreds of thousands in the Sahel belt of West Africa, warns the international agency Oxfam.
The relief group said there was little excuse for the lack of adequate funding and delays when the international community had been warned of the magnitude of the unfolding crisis for months.
Over 10 million people across the region are suffering from a food crisis since March following drought and erratic rains last year that caused poor food harvests and water shortages.
Next few weeks critical
"We're now at the peak of the emergency and the next few weeks will be critical for hundreds of thousands," said Etienne du Vachat, head of Oxfam's humanitarian response in Niger. "With two long months still to go before the harvests, this crisis demands a much more generous and faster international response."
Oxfam said that the current aid available is seriously insufficient and cannot meet large-scale needs. By the end of July 2010, only one third of the resources required to help save lives had been delivered.
"Recent announcements by key donors are welcomed and needed, but this must be matched by actual deeds," said Kirsty Hughes, head of Oxfam's policy and campaigns department, who has just returned from the region.
"It's appalling that aid has arrived so slowly as agencies have warned since last November about the severity of the situation," Hughes said.
In Niger, the World Food Program recently announced (20th July) that it would be rapidly scaling up its operations to feed 7.9 million people this year. But insufficient funding, delivery and other logistical constraints mean that it is likely this ambitious target will not be met – potentially leaving millions without aid. With the rainy season bringing floods and hampering aid distribution, international agencies and donors need to urgently intensify aid efforts before it is too late, Oxfam said.
In Chad, two million also face hunger, with many children badly malnourished. Yet, Chad has been a forgotten priority in the Sahel emergency.
In Mali, Oxfam says people are not receiving the help they need in the face of a deteriorating situation in the northern part of the country.
Oxfam said that at this late stage, where appropriate, cash and voucher-based programs should be used as quicker, cheaper and more effective alternatives to food aid. The agency said that only a fraction of the most affected communities are currently targeted for cash distributions, a number that must increase.
More information: West Africa Food Crisis
- Charles Bambara on +221 77 639 4178
- Jane Barrett on +31 6 13933517
European Union Office reports and papers
#Women in the south of Thailand prove that knowledge is power http://t.co/TEXzEBldYq via @OxfamInAsia3 hours 9 min ago
3 hours 45 min ago
What is the #ETS and how might it help fight #climate change? http://t.co/XT3vWIANmz infographic via @SamWWF @WWFEU5 hours 21 min ago
#ETS structural reform needs to be much more ambitious to help stave off dangerous #climate change http://t.co/ZhcfQtzMHv @OxfamEU5 hours 30 min ago
#Women are due to get a bigger say in #Kenya’s #climate change policies http://t.co/aUXN1OpfSF #genderjustice5 hours 44 min ago
RT @youngvictheatre: And... Check out this wonderful photo gallery of Joe Wright & Chiwetel's trip to #Congo with @Oxfam http://t.co/yfusA6…5 hours 47 min ago
7 hours 47 sec ago
Empowering girls through technology: what's the role for business? http://t.co/ChGyFHWCCK cc @girlswhocode @GSMA #ict #m4d7 hours 23 min ago
En 2012 fueron asesinadas 606 mujeres en #Honduras. 98% de los casos permanece en la impunidad http://t.co/DN4Ixb1QsM @femicidiosHND #EVAW7 hours 44 min ago
1 woman is killed in Honduras every 15 hrs, but <2% of the cases are investigated http://t.co/7c88EhmIkG Act now #EVAW! #gbv7 hours 58 min ago
What the G8 forgot. @Jodie_Thorpe on what the #G8 should have done for farmers http://t.co/GiU0P5eaLs #tax #trade #transparency9 hours 24 min ago
RT @GEFOfficial: A different perspective of #Somalia, thanks for sharing @Oxfam http://t.co/yf0e11aU9U, our favorite photo is this: http://…9 hours 49 min ago
RT @OxfamEAfrica: Our thoughts are with our UN colleagues in Mogadishu today and everyone caught up in the attack http://t.co/0MA97Ij7gF9 hours 52 min ago
10 hours 32 min ago
If left unchecked #climate change will undermine #foodsecurity in world’s hungriest regions http://t.co/0dfFGKUb8v @WorldBank #climatereport11 hours 13 min ago