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Sahel crisis

Sahel crisis

Despite continuous efforts of governments and partners to address food insecurity and malnutrition in the Sahel, an estimated 29.2 million people are food insecure, including 9.4 million suffering from severe food insecurity who are likely to experience extreme food deficits (Phase 3 of the Cadre harmonisé).

In a context of chronic poverty and high population growth, insecurity and climatic hazards remain the key drivers of growing humanitarian needs. Repeated shocks, including droughts and floods, have led to the disruption of the livelihoods of the most vulnerable.

Unprecedented levels of population displacements due to insecurity across the region, especially in the Lake Chad basin (Cameroon, Chad, the Niger and Nigeria) and Mali, as well as in neighbouring countries (the Central African Republic and the Sudan) exacerbate the challenges faced by vulnerable populations. As a result of Boko Haram-related violence, more than 6 million people are food insecure in the Lake Chad basin. Displaced people are deprived of their livelihoods and often rely on the limited food reserves and resources of their host communities. In order to meet their most urgent needs, they turn to survival strategies, such as contracting debts and reducing the number of daily meals. Most of them have lost their productive assets and are faced with very limited livelihood options. The Cadre harmonisé report (released in August 2016) indicated that 4.5 million people are severely food insecure (Phases 3 to 5) in Northeast Nigeria and require immediate assistance ‒ a 50 percent increase compared with March 2016.

In the framework of the 2016 Humanitarian Response Plan for the Sahel, FAO is appealing for a total USD 117.3 million to assist 4.1 million people. Building on the key principles of resilience, the proposed activities are designed to enable the most vulnerable people, including IDPs and their host communities, to continue to produce their food and maintain their income.

The priority in the coming weeks is to ensure that farmers are provided with time-critical inputs including seeds and fertilizers for the off-season vegetable production, as well as for irrigated crops focused on the production of cereals, pulses and tuber. In addition, the provision of veterinary care and animal feed will be crucial to prevent animal losses.

FAO also aims to address the underlying causes of vulnerability to enhance the resilience of populations in the region, with activities such as the production of varieties of seeds adapted to climate change, or the rehabilitation of degraded land. Support to food security analysis and early warning is also crucial to help countries and communities prepare for risks and future shocks, and improve the resilience of food and agricultural systems in the Sahel.

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