The Stream

What can stop hunger in the Sahel?

On Tuesday, May 31 at 19:30 GMT:
A hunger crisis in Africa’s Sahel region is intensifying, with the UN warning that 18 million people are facing starvation in the next three months.

The already precarious situation for families long affected by conflict, extreme weather, and the impact of COVID-19 has only deepened due to a rise in food prices stemming from Russia’s war on Ukraine.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) recently released an extra $30 million from an emergency relief fund to help 1.7 million people in Niger, Chad, Mali and Burkina Faso who are especially vulnerable.

But as the UN’s Humanitarian Affairs chief and Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths says “entire families in the Sahel are on the brink of starvation”, appeals for $3.8 billion in international funding to provide sufficient aid to the Sahel in 2022 are woefully underfunded. OCHA says only 12 percent of that amount has been secured.

Millions of people in the Sahel have been forced to move to other towns and villages or into neighbouring countries, due a lack of food supplies or the threat of imminent attack by armed groups linked to ISIL (ISIS) and al-Qaeda. In one attack in eastern Burkina Faso on May 25, 50 people were killed as they tried to leave an area that was under a militia-led blockade. Governments across the region are at odds over how to combat the armed groups, with Mali recently pulling out of a multinational armed force. The dangerous security situation is complicating efforts to deliver aid to those who need it.

In this episode of The Stream we’ll look at the impact of the hunger crisis on people across the Sahel, and ask what more is needed to bring immediate relief and build a more sustainable future in the region.

In this episode of The Stream, we are joined by:
Halimatou Amadou, @Hali_amadou
Spokeswoman for Francophone Africa, ICRC

Ornella Moderan, @Nella_Moderan
Head of Sahel Programme, Institute for Security Studies

Ollo Sib, @WFP_Africa
Senior Research, Assessment and Monitoring Regional Advisor, UN World Food Programme