A desperate and largely unknown humanitarian crisis is deteriorating in the Lake Chad Basin region of West Africa, forcing millions of people to flee their homes and leaving millions more in need of humanitarian assistance. Oxfam is providing life-saving support but help is urgently needed to prevent the crisis turning into a catastrophe.
Oxfam response to WFP scale up in drought-stricken Niger
Agency urges international community to take urgent action on the crisis
In response to an announcement by the World Food Programme (WFP) today (July 20th) that it is scaling up its operation to provide aid to 8 million people in Niger, Kirsty Hughes, head of advocacy for Oxfam in Dakar, said:
"This move by the World Food Programme underlines the sheer gravity of the food crisis gripping Niger and the rest of the Sahel, but concerted efforts are needed to ensure these plans are implemented urgently and aid gets to those that need it most.
"This scale up will also need a lot more money from donors. People are living on the edge and donors step up their efforts need to get serious or risk an even greater tragedy. It is also vital that food aid is complemented with direct cash support to the most vulnerable hungry people."
Some 10 million people across the Sahel region of West Africa are facing extreme hunger. Despite months of warnings, the response to the crisis has been slow and paltry. Some donors have stepped up and provided funds, but the UN appeal for Niger is only 36 percent funded, and other affected countries are faring even worse. In Chad, more than 28,000 tonnes of WFP food supplies have yet to arrive. Mali has only received 23 percent of the funds requested.
Hughes continued, "Donors and agencies must not forget Chad and Mali: people are suffering in these countries too, and they urgently need help."
For more information or to arrange interviews with Kirsty Hughes, please contact:
Rebecca Wynn on + 44 (0) 1865 472530 or write to RWynn@oxfam.org.uk