DAKAR – Severe food insecurity is set to reach 10-year highs in West and Central Africa by June of this year – New study shows food insecurity spreads to coastal countries, reaching devastating levels Hunger is taking its toll on conflict. Humanitarian assistance is severely hampered by insecurity in the affected areas of Burkina Faso and Mali.
For the first time in the Sahel, 45,000 people are projected to experience catastrophic levels of hunger, one step away from famine, including 42,000 in Burkina Faso and 2,500 in Mali.
The combined effects of conflict, climate shocks, COVID-19 and high food prices continue to increase hunger and malnutrition in the region, leaving many people without regular access to safe and nutritious food. is projected to rise to 48 million in June. – Lean season in August 2023 – According to Cadre Harmonisé food security analysis in March 2023 – he has quadrupled in the last five years. The results also confirm a long-term trend of geographical expansion of food insecurity in the region.
“The decline in food security and nutrition in West Africa is heartbreaking,” said Chris Nikoi, WFP’s Regional Director for West Africa. “Large-scale investments are essential to strengthen the capacity of communities and individuals to withstand shocks, while prioritizing local and long-term solutions to food production, transformation and access to vulnerable groups,” he said. added.
The already dire nutritional status of communities across the region is also deteriorating, with 16.5 million children under the age of five facing acute malnutrition in 2023, including 4.8 million debilitated children. will suffer from the severe form of the disease (SAM). This means an 83% increase in global acute malnutrition (GAM) compared to the 2015-2022 average. In addition to the inaccessibility of diverse, nutritious and healthy diets (particularly for young children and women), conflict and migration are among the main factors exacerbating the situation, making it an essential social resource. Access to services (health, nutrition, water and sanitation) is declining. , social protection), and care practices. Between 2019 and 2023, the region saw a 79% increase in security incidents, causing large-scale population displacements and hindering access to agricultural land and feed.
Marie-Pierre Poirier, UNICEF Regional Director for West and Central Africa, said: “We are helping governments to strengthen health systems at the facility and community level to successfully detect and treat malnutrition while focusing on prevention.”
Despite improved rainfall in 2022, food access and availability remains a major concern. The region remains dependent on net imports, and depreciating currencies and high inflation have pushed up food import fees in the region, even as countries struggle with major fiscal constraints and macroeconomic challenges. increase. In addition, there are concerns that restrictions on transgrazing and the concentration of livestock in some areas could further worsen the livestock and security situation.
“The continuing deterioration of the food and nutrition situation in West Africa and the Sahel region is unacceptable as civil unrest and high food prices disrupt the functioning of markets despite increased cereal production. , access to food remains difficult for most of the population,” said Robert Guei, FAO’s West Africa Sub-Regional Coordinator.
“This trend will likely continue to worsen the food and nutrition situation. Therefore, we must urgently address the root causes of this crisis in a coordinated manner. Achieve food sovereignty in our region.” For this reason, it is time to take action to boost agricultural production,” added Guei.
FAO, OCHA, UNICEF and the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) call on the private sector as well as development and humanitarian partners to support governments to strengthen food security and nutrition in the region I’m here. This includes building food, health, water and sanitation systems, as well as nutrition-sensitive social protection programs for vulnerable groups such as women and young children. Partnerships need to be strengthened to prevent and treat acute malnutrition among children and promote Climate Smart programs that help reduce the region’s high vulnerability to climate shocks and the risk of natural resource depletion. .
“The food and nutrition crisis has multisectoral impacts on the living conditions of affected people in the region, in regions already experiencing humanitarian crises, and in all countries of West and Central Africa. This requires the collective deployment of a multisectoral approach based on the needs represented by the population, with people in West and Central Africa at its core,” said OCHA Regional Office for West and Central Africa. Director Charles Bernimolin added.
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