The Sahel, one of the world’s poorest regions, is reeling from the aftershocks of four consecutive food and nutrition crises since 2005. These recurrent crises have severely eroded the resilience of the poorest families who now struggle to cover their basic food needs year after year, most especially during the long period between harvests.
Conflicts in Mali, Central African Republic and northern Nigeria – spilling over to Chad, Niger and Cameroon – have further exacerbated the food security situation. They have caused severe disruption of markets, of agricultural and pastoral activity and forced hundreds of thousands of people from their homes: there are 1 million refugees and 2.5 million internally displaced in the region.
More than 30 million people are at present severely or moderately food insecure and it is foreseen that over 7 million will need emergency food assistance in 2016. Coordinated action by governments, donors, humanitarian and development organisations to strengthen people’s resilience and provide them with basic social services is a top priority.
EU humanitarian response
In 2016, the European Commission's humanitarian funding for the Sahel countries amounts to over €203 million so far.
This support will help provide nutrition care within national health systems for 550 000 severely malnourished children – that is as much as 43% of the total number of affected children. Also, 1.2 million people affected by severe food insecurity will receive food or benefit from cash assistance.
In an effort to break the cycle of food and nutrition emergencies, the Commission is 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.