At least 15 million people are at risk of serious food shortages in the Sahel region of Africa, according to the United Nations. Poor harvests, high grain prices and chronic poverty have left many communities in countries in West Africa, such as Niger, Mali and Burkino Faso, in need of urgent aid.
The situation has been exacerbated by a military coup in Mali and local migration. At least 200,000 Malians have fled to Niger and Burkina Faso, which were already under pressure. The uprising in Libya has also forced thousands of migrants to return home.
The closure of some of Nigeria’s borders – to stop extremist group Boko Haram from gaining influence in the country – has hampered the transportation of imports of food and livestock to countries such as Niger.
John Ging of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has said: ‘It’s a matter of life or death for millions who are on the brink.’
Last June, MRDF launched an Africa food crisis appeal which helped to provide emergency relief to thousands of people affected by food shortages in the Horn of Africa. Donations helped to support communities that have experienced consecutive droughts by restocking herds and providing drought-resistant crops.
Funds were also allocated to a food crisis fund for Mali. This enabled our local partners to provide food relief and also invest in seeds banks, water pumps and training in vegetable growing. These measures will provide some communities with a degree of resilience in the current situation. This project is the focus for MRDF’s Harvest Appeal 2012.
With your support, our partners will continue to respond to the food crises in the Horn of Africa and the Sahel. We will post further updates as we receive them.