Central Sahel countries need immediate food aid: UN


Nearly 2.5 million people in Africa’s central Sahel region are in need of immediate food assistance, the World Food Program’s said on Tuesday.

In a media briefing in Geneva, Herve Verhoosel, spokesman for the WFP, said deaths of civilians in Burkina Faso conflicts have leapt fourfold this year.

“The world does not yet fully grasp the extent of the mounting humanitarian crisis in the central Sahel region – encompassing Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger,” said Verhoosel.

The crisis is fueled by violent clashes between armed groups, population displacement, hunger, and widespread poverty.

“If we do not act now to tackle hunger in the Sahel, a whole generation are at risk,” the spokesman said.

Verhoosel said that 20 million people now live in conflict-affected areas across the region, and they are bearing the brunt of an unfolding crisis as hunger and malnutrition loom.

Already, over 860,000 people across the three Sahelian countries have fled their homes in search of safety and remain internally displaced, and over 270,000 are living as refugees across the three countries.

These include 26,100 in Burkina Faso, 187,140 in Mali, and 187,360 in Niger.

The conflict is devastating agriculture and rural economies, and almost one in three children is out of school in many of the conflict-affected areas.

Verhoosel noted that there was a sharp increase in conflicts, especially in Burkina Faso.

The number of violent incidents in the first half of 2019 exceeds those in the whole of 2018 in Burkina Faso, and four times more civilians lost their lives this year, he said.
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