Press release - Drought in West Africa
Drought in West Africa
Prevent a humanitarian disaster!
(16.02.2012) Welthungerhilfe is further increasing its support for people in the Sahel region who are suffering from a drought and high food prices. 520,000 people in need will get help in the next few weeks. This concerns families in Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso who do not have any more food stocks and whose financial resources have already been exhausted.
"We can still avoid a disaster like that in East Africa. The early warning system has worked and now we need binding support for those affected until the next harvest in autumn 2012," warned the Regional Director of Welthungerhilfe, Willi Kohlmus, in Mali.
After inadequate and irregular rainfall the countries in the Sahel zone are threatened with starvation, which could affect the lives of up to 15 million people. Even now about 4 million people cannot feed themselves sufficiently because their stocks are exhausted and their animals have been slaughtered. The harvest failures this year have been so bad that in some areas 10 per cent of the children are already suffering from malnutrition. At the same time prices for basic foodstuffs such as rice and millet have risen sharply. Many families lack an additional income since thousands of migrant workers have had to return from Libya and Tunisia.
Since the beginning of this year Welthungerhilfe has prepared extensive emergency aid measures in Mali, Burkina Faso und Niger with the financial support of the German government. Needy families are receiving food and seeds. At the same basic foodstuffs are being made available at subsidised prices so that people who still have a small income can feed themselves from their own resources. In this way a further escalation in starvation will be prevented.