International children’s charity World Vision is increasing its emergency efforts in Niger, Mali, Mauritania, Chad and Senegal in response to the countries’ rapidly worsening food crisis.
It is estimated that almost 15 million people are struggling to find a reliable source of food as a result of prolonged drought and repeated failed harvests.
A recent assessment by the aid agency shows that malnutrition rates are worsening in many areas across the region as food stocks dry up and families run out of options to help them cope.
With 12 million people affected in Niger and Mali alone, World Vision UK’s Head of Emergencies, Mark Bulpitt, described the situation as serious and deteriorating:
“The situation in Niger and Mali is critical, with many families only able to feed their children once a day. Parents are starting to wonder if their children will be able to survive the hunger season, before the next harvest is due in September.”
He continued: '“For decades, World Vision has been working with communities to mitigate the worst effects of cyclical droughts, but now is the time to scale up our response. We need to take action to prevent a bad situation becoming a crisis.”
World Vision is working with children like 13-year-old Koubra, whose family is feeling the effect of the food shortage. She said:
“Some days we don’t have food. If you are hungry, you feel that your body is weak. And it’s not the same thing if you’ve eaten.”
While in-country staff continue to work with children and their families in affected areas, members of World Vision’s international emergency team have already been deployed to support World Vision’s ongoing work in West Africa.
March 13 2012