Since the first warnings of drought and poor harvests in Africa’s Sahel region in late 2011, communities in many areas have been threatened by a looming food crisis.
That crisis is now real. More than 15 million people are vulnerable to hunger in seven countries: Niger, Mauritania, Mali, Chad, The Gambia, Senegal, and Burkina Faso.
An Oxfam team from the region was in Ottawa, Canada, Thursday, April 12th, to call for an urgent, early response to protect lives and livelihoods, averting a large-scale humanitarian disaster like one in the Horn of Africa last summer.
“We can still avoid the worst by delivering a timely adequate response,” Eric Hazard says in this Oxfam Canada video. Mr. Hazard is the Senegal-based Oxfam International GROW campaign coordinator for the Sahel region.
The twin message by teams on the Oxfam lobby tour in Ottawa, Washington, London, Spain and France, is that long-term solutions are possible and necessary to break the cycle of hunger in West Africa, a region with huge potential.
Mamadou Goïta of Mali, executive secretary of ROPPA, the West African Peasants’ and Farmers’ Network, speaks in this Oxfam Canada video about the importance of investment in small-scale farming and processing as “a key starting point to break the cycle of the food crisis in the region.”
They were joined at a news conference on Parliament Hill by Mahamadou Issoufou, executive secretary of the Federation of Peasant Group Unions of Niger, Robert Fox, executive director of Oxfam Canada, and Lina Holguin, Oxfam Quebec policy director. Read the Press Release.
Less than half of the $724.5 million the United Nations said in January was needed in the region had been committed in early April. The need is likely to increase towards $1bn in coming weeks.
-Juliet O’Neill, Media Officer, Oxfam Canada