March 15 2012 - A perfect storm of failed rains, widespread drought, spiraling cereal prices, migrant unemployment, and mass population displacement due to regional conflict, has left close to 13 million men, women and children in the Sahel facing acute hunger and severe malnutrition over the coming months.
‘Christian Aid have launched this crisis appeal because there is a rapidly closing window of opportunity to save lives and prevent the loss of livelihoods on a similar scale to what we recently saw unfold in East Africa,’ says Cristina Ruiz, Christian Aid’s Africa humanitarian programmes manager.
‘Christian Aid is providing emergency food aid and nutrition kits for treating malnourished children in Burkina Faso, organising cash-for-work programmes in Mali where the most vulnerable will receive seeds and prepare their land to withstand drought, and scaling up our emergency response projects in Niger.
‘However, donor countries must also urgently provide the $460m funding gap to meet the UN-estimate of $724m needed now to prevent the food crisis. The longer these funds are delayed, the more costly the response effort and the more dangerous the situation for the people affected. Without a prompt and effective intervention, there is high risk that this will develop into an extreme crisis by May 2012.’ Ruiz warns.
The current crisis is the latest peak in a situation of longstanding food insecurity in the Sahel. This year, Niger has already experienced a shortfall of more than 500,000 tonnes of grain and 10 million tonnes of animal feed. In Mali, 11% of the country’s cereal production has been lost, and in Burkina Faso, deficits could leave as many as two million people at risk.
To donate to Christian Aid’s West Africa Food Crisis Appeal please visit www.christianaid.org.uk/westafrica, call 08080 004 004.
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If you would like further information please contact Emma Pomfret on +442075232427/ email firstname.lastname@example.org or Niall O’Rourke on +226 72818177/email Norourke@christian-aid.org, or 24 hour press duty phone – 07850 242950.
Notes to Editors:
1. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in nearly 50 countries. We act where the need is greatest, regardless of religion, helping people build the lives they deserve.
2. Christian Aid has a vision, an end to global poverty, and we believe that vision can become a reality. Our report, Poverty Over, explains what we believe needs to be done – and can be done – to end poverty. Details at http://www.christianaid.org.uk/Images/poverty-over-report.pdf
3. Christian Aid is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of 100 churches and church-related organisations that work together inhumanitarian assistance and development. Further details at http://www.actalliance.org
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5. For more information about the work of Christian Aid visit www.christianaid.org.uk