14 September 2012
Six months after the British Red Cross launched its West Africa Food Crisis Appeal, it continues to help people in the Sahel – where 17 million are still facing severe food shortages.
The situation in west Africa has been complicated by conflict in Mali, which has led hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes. Many people are displaced within Mali, and many others have fled to neighbouring countries – putting a further strain on limited resources.
Yasmine Praz Dessimoz, head of operations for north and west Africa at the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), said: "In the north of the country, the situation is becoming more and more alarming. Thousands of people affected in one way or another by the armed conflict are completely dependent on humanitarian aid. They urgently need food, medical care and other humanitarian services.
"The price of food in the markets is far too high for most families to afford. The public sector is no longer providing basic health care or supplying clean drinking water, not least because many skilled civil servants had to flee the fighting and the lack of security. Residents are affected in the same way as the large numbers of displaced people."
While west Africa’s seasonal rains have now come, it is too early to gauge if they will improve people’s access to food. In some areas, however, the downpours have caused flooding and destroyed crops, livestock, food and granaries.
How we’ve helped
From assessing what needed to be done to providing relief to vulnerable people across the region, our appeal continues to improve the lives of people affected by the food crisis.
To date, the British Red Cross has donated nearly £120,000 to support projects in Burkina Faso and Senegal. It has also given £125,000 from its Disaster Fund to support the ICRC’s economic security work in Mali and Niger.
Across the Sahel, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is working to support the most vulnerable people now, and to reduce their vulnerability to future crises.
Donate to the West Africa Food Crisis Appeal