It sounds seemingly impossible, but there is yet another area of Africa that is under threat of a food shortage due to erratic rains during the growing season. While the Sahel is still experiencing food shortages, southern Africa is now joining ranks with the northwestern part of the continent.
According to the World Food Programme, 3.5 million people are living in drought-hit areas in Malawi, Lesotho, and Zimbabwe and are in need of food assistance. The hunger season lasts from December through March.
“Large numbers of smallholder farmers and their families are in the grip of what is set to be one of the harshest hunger seasons of recent years,” says Brenda Barton, WFP Deputy Regional Director for Southern Africa. “With the help of governments, donors and regional organizations, we’re mobilizing resources to help the most vulnerable, not only with food distributions but also with innovative solutions like cash transfers via mobile phones so people can buy their own food.”
1.8 million people are receiving food assistance
200,000 people are receiving food assistance
1.6 million people are receiving food and cash assistance
What can you do to help? You can donate securely on the World Food Programme web site. There is currently a $4 million emergency operation shortfall in Lesotho and a $14 million shortfall in Malawai, so every donation counts.
This is a powerful graphic from Oxfam America because it clearly shows how quickly the food crisis in the Sahel is accelerating and affecting millions more people.
One of the greatest problems right now in combating the Sahel food crisis is a lack of food aid funding. Oxfam is urging citizens to write a letter to Secretary Clinton to schedule an emergency aid conference for the Sahel. You can send your letter here.
If you missed the World Food Programme’s live Google+ hangout about the Sahel hunger crisis yesterday you can watch it in its entirety on Youtube.
You can see everyone who participated in this web story. Denise Brown, the World Food Programme Country Director for Niger answered questions about the food crisis in Niger.
“The biggest challenge we have is the areas where we didn’t intervene, but where we see now the food security situation has deteriorated,” said Brown. “People have no food stocks left at the household level. The prices on the market have increased.”
Watch the discussion on the World Food Programme’s Youtube page (May 30th) at 12:00pm PDT / 3:00pm EDT and learn more about the situation on the ground in Niger and throughout the Sahel.
Denise Brown, the World Food Programme Country Director in Niger said, “From my work in Somalia, Kenya, Afghanistan and Iraq, I have been a part of many emergency operations, and I know that one of the keys to responding effectively is raising awareness and mobilizing supporters like you to act. I want to give you exclusive insight into the many factors that have contributed to this crisis in the Sahel and have left more than 9 million people in the region vulnerable and food insecure.”
“I have seen first-hand how the people in Niger are working to survive and rebuild their lives, Brown continued. “Understanding how hard mothers in this country are working to try and feed their children is a moving story, and I want to share it with you.”
You can watch on the World Food Programme’s Youtube page (http://youtube.com/worldfoodprogram) and they invite you to submit questions and comments via Google+ and on Twitter using the event hashtag #food4sahel.