What are the needs?
The Sahel, one of the world’s poorest regions, is still reeling from the aftershocks of four consecutive food and nutrition crises since 2005. Failed harvests, excessive food prices and the spillover from conflicts in Côte d'Ivoire, Libya and Mali left 18 million people food insecure in 2012.
These recurrent crises have severely eroded the resilience of the poorest families who now struggle to cover their basic food needs year after year, during the long period between harvests. Conflicts in Mali, Central African Republic and northern Nigeria have further exacerbated the food security situation. They caused severe disruption of markets, of agricultural and pastoral activity and forced hundreds of thousands of people from their homes.
Following average harvests, nutrition and food assistance needs will again be massive in 2014. More than 20 million people are at risk of food insecurity and 5 million children are expected to suffer from acute malnutrition. Coordinated action by governments, donors, aid and development partners aimed at strengthening people’s resilience and providing them with basic social services has become a necessity.
How are we helping?
The humanitarian aid effort in 2012-13 mitigated the impact of the food crisis and provided nutrition care for over 1.6 million acutely malnourished children. Half of these children received care thanks to European Commission funding. Since the beginning of the food and nutrition crisis in the Sahel and the Mali conflict in 2012, the Commission has mobilized more than €380 million in emergency aid.
In 2014, the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) will continue to fund live-saving care for malnourished children and provide food assistance through in-kind or cash donations for some of the poorest families in the region.
In an effort to break the cycle of food and nutrition emergencies, the Commission remains committed to work with governments, aid agencies and donors in the framework of AGIR, the Global Alliance for Resilience Initiative. AGIR seeks to address the root causes of the region’s chronic food insecurity and to achieve ‘Zero Hunger’ in the Sahel by 2032.