Leaders plead with Obasa to drop Senate ambition for Lagos Assembly return

By Adedapo Adesanya

The number of hungry people in the Sahel and West Africa has quadrupled in the past three years, currently reaching 41 million, the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) has said.

This is one of multiple humanitarian crises affecting the region, as it requires $777 million in assistance to help avert a food crisis within the next six months.

Sounding the alert, the WFP said the figure rose to 43 million when the Central African Republic was included in the food insecurity estimate.

He also stressed that the problem is not limited to rural areas as 16 million people living in urban spaces are also at risk of acute food insecurity, warning that some six million children are undernourished in the Sahel.

The Sahel is made up of parts from west to east of northern Senegal, southern Mauritania, central Mali, northern Burkina Faso, the extreme south of Algeria, Niger, the extreme northern Nigeria, extreme northern Cameroon and Central African Republic, central Chad, central and southern Sudan, extreme northern South Sudan, Eritrea and extreme northern Ethiopia.

According to the WFP, since Russia invaded Ukraine, food prices have jumped 30-50% in many places – and even doubled in some markets.

After droughts caused low yields last year, farmers are already deeply concerned about the upcoming harvest.

The WFP has warned that they lack food to meet their needs and amid escalating conflicts, more than six million people have been forced from their homes in the Sahel.

Meanwhile, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has warned that the worst drought in decades threatens around 15 million people in the Horn of Africa.

Parched landscapes, worsening food insecurity and increasingly widespread displacement have prompted IOM to call for “an urgent and effective humanitarian response” to avert large-scale deterioration across the region.

Around three, five and seven million people in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia, respectively, are at risk of a humanitarian crisis due to the unprecedented impacts of multiple failed rainy seasons.

The battered region has already been hit by cumulative shocks including conflict, extreme weather, climate change, locusts and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although the Horn of Africa has experienced climate-induced crises for decades, the current drought in arid and semi-arid lands has been particularly severe.

“There is a high risk of starvation and malnutrition as the food security situation deteriorates rapidly,” according to IOM.

This increases pressure on already limited natural resources, increasing the risk of inter-communal conflict, as farming and pastoral communities compete for dwindling water supplies.

To prevent a humanitarian disaster, IOM is working closely with governments, UN agencies and other partners in each country to meet the acute water needs of displaced people, migrants and vulnerable groups.

The immediate needs require large-scale emergency humanitarian assistance, including food, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH); non-food items; and conflict management interventions.

In the longer term, the global climate crisis has underscored the need to collectively increase disaster preparedness and climate adaptation.

Comments are closed.