Oxfam welcomes UK's response to Niger and Sahel food crisis

Published: 13th July 2010

Agency calls for other donors to urgently demonstrate the same level of international leadership

The UK's Department for International Development (DFID) today announced that it was giving an additional £4.5m ($6.8m) in funding for Niger and Chad. This takes the UK's commitment to £20m ($30m). DFID also urged other international donors to release more funding for the crisis.

In response to the announcement, Kirsty Hughes, head of policy for Oxfam said:

"This new money and leadership from the UK's Department of International Development is vital. The deepening food crisis across the Sahel region of West Africa is getting worse - some aid is arriving but it is too little, too late. This sort of political leadership is what we urgently need to see from other leading donor countries internationally.

Some 10 million people across the Sahel region of West Africa are facing extreme hunger. Malnutrition rates are soaring, cattle are dying and people are scavenging for wild seeds and leaves just to get something to eat. Oxfam echoes the UK government's calls for other international donors to do more. The UN appeal for Niger is still about $70 million short of its target. There is only a short time to avert a full-scale tragedy and other donors need to act now."

Oxfam also stressed that donors need to remember all the affected countries. The centre of the crisis is Niger, where seven million people, almost half the population, do not have not enough food.  But a further two million people in Chad, and hundreds of thousands more in Mali, Mauritania, parts of Burkina Faso and the extreme north of Nigeria are also suffering as a result of the crisis.