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The FAO Component of the Consolidated Appeals 2011: West Africa
West Africa’s humanitarian situation remains of deep concern. The region continues to be marked by complex and severe humanitarian crises, pushing hundreds of thousands of households into severe poverty.
CAP 2011 – List of Countries
In 2010, the region was found to have the highest rates of under-five mortality in the world, which equates to approximately one-quarter of all child deaths. These dire conditions continue to be aggravated by poor nutrition and inadequate treatment of childhood disease.
Socio-economic and political shocks are also increasingly recurrent in West Africa. Most countries lack adequate capacity to respond to emergency situations, and in some cases have reduced coping capacities as a consequence of armed conflicts. Uncertainty surrounding the elections in Côte d’Ivoire and Guinea, as well as in other countries, has the potential to put large numbers of people at risk through unrest and displacement.
Climate change is posing an additional challenge to most countries in the region. Natural disasters have been increasing consistently over several years, with more than 1.45 million people in West Africa affected by floods in 2010, which represents a 90 percent increase compared with 2009.
It is critical that the international community remains focused on the West Africa region, where millions of people continue to be affected by extreme food insecurity and face significant difficulties re-establishing their livelihoods.
Challenges facing food security and livelihoods
Each year, the population of West Africa faces natural and socio‑economic crises of varying intensity that affect the different livelihood zones. These shocks have led to a deterioration in household living conditions and a weakening of livelihoods, especially for families that depend on agriculture.
Food insecurity affected more than 10 million people in the Sahel in 2010, owing to the previous year’s insufficient rainfall and the subsequent overall decline in cereal and fodder production in the region. The hardest hit was Niger, causing more than 7 million people to be food insecure. Burkina Faso, northeastern Mali, Chad and northern Nigeria were also seriously affected, and as a consequence, already-high malnutrition rates in the Sahel have exceeded the critical threshold levels.
The 2010 wet season has also caused damages to the agriculture and livestock sectors throughout the region as a result of flooding and the consequent loss of food, cash crops and livestock. A sudden increase in food and wheat prices during summer 2010 further eroded regional household purchasing power, particularly in countries in the
Gulf of Guinea where there has been increased price volatility. Given the overall situation in the region, external assistance will still be required in 2011 in order to meet the needs of the population and protect the livelihoods of vulnerable rural households.
In 2011, FAO will work closely with WFP and UNICEF to reinforce the capacity of national and regional institutions to respond to emergencies. At regional level, FAO will continue to strengthen food security analysis by enhancing information sharing and coordinating with all relevant partners engaged in food security and nutrition activities. FAO’s Subregional Emergency Office for West Africa and the Sahel will play a lead role in regional food security and nutrition coordination by defining joint regional response strategies; promoting an integrated approach to nutrition, food security and livelihoods; and reinforcing analytical capacity through national and regional early warning systems.
FAO is also appealing for funds to provide emergency assistance to vulnerable farmers affected by natural disasters and high food prices in Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Senegal and Togo. A coordinated and multi‑pronged response is needed to tackle the emergency in its totality. In this regard, FAO will collaborate with partners to make timely decisions and take effective response actions.
In addition, animal diseases transmissible to humans remain a concern in West African countries and there is a need to strengthen surveillance systems to control major diseases. FAO is appealing for funds to protect the livelihoods of vulnerable herders by controlling animal diseases, and providing assistance to the targeted countries to enhance their basic services through input delivery, training and reinforcement of their technical and organizational capacities.