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 international in partnership with local authorities in Bourem District will launch a major operation today to help the population in North-East of Mali affected by drought and late heavy rains. Drought caused by late rains was followed by flooding in the Gao Region affecting thousands of vulnerable communities in this remote and impoverished area. Many houses were destroyed.
3,000 families representing 24,000 people will directly receive aid from Oxfam International. The plan is to target the poorest people in the district of Bourem, where Oxfam has an existing program, with two local partners ATDS and GREFFA.
Poor rains at the beginning of the raining season hampered farmers’ ability to prepare land for cultivation and then late, heavy rains caused floods which destroyed any hope of good harvest this year. Cattle were also seriously affected by the drought. In early July, two thirds of animals could not access all the food they needed and the government estimated that ten percent would die unless action is taken. In Gao region 80 percent of the population rely on livestock for their livelihoods.
Families living in Bourem district told Oxfam International that they have started regularly skipping meals because they’re already experiencing serious food shortages. An Oxfam survey carried out in Temera commune in June showed that most people were only eating one meal a day.
Oxfam International will be spending $420,000 over three months to provide fodder for cattle and cash transfers for the population in Bourem. Gilles Marion, Oxfam Country Director in Mali said, “This operation will target the most vulnerable farmers living in this area to help the overcome the ‘hunger gap’ before harvests.“
Notes to editors
High quality recent video footage and photographs from the Gao region are available from Oxfam.