The food crisis in the Sahel dramatically worsened by the war in Ukraine

23-06-2022

As Ukraine receives most of the world’s international aid, , many countries in the Sahel are facing a dramatic food crisis. The European conflict has had an extremely negative impact on the situation in Africa .

In a public decree on June 1, Chad – the third least developed country in the world according to the UN – declared a “food and nutrition emergency”. This declaration was made in the face of the “steady deterioration of the nutritional situation” and “in view of the growing risk that local communities face if no humanitarian assistance (…) is provided.”

When one crisis worsens another

In a context of increasing poverty and hunger in West Africa, the war in Ukraine is dangerously aggravating the situation with rising food prices. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, food prices could rise by another 20% worldwide, a catastrophic increase for vulnerable populations. The conflict may also reduce the availability of wheat for several West African countries that import between 30% and 50% of their wheat from Russia or Ukraine.

Current humanitarian funding for West Africa comes from large institutional donors. However, the response to the Ukrainian conflict is suddenly mobilizing a very large share of this aid. ALIMA is therefore concerned that the underfunding of the humanitarian response in Africa will be further exacerbated at a time when resources should be significantly increasing.

A duty of universal assistance

“Our interventions, as humanitarians, are guided by a universal duty of assistance, assistance that should be without exception, and without differentiated treatment”, said Moumouni Kinda – General Director of ALIMA – in an article published on May 10, 2022 in the french newspaper La Croix. “However, the resources allocated to Ukraine in a few weeks contrast sharply with the underfunding of many humanitarian crises, particularly in Africa. Ukraine is receiving the right level of solidarity and care, this level should be the standard for responses to all crises, everywhere else.”

By 2021, only 48 % of the humanitarian response plan for West Africa had been funded, far below what was needed. To avoid catastrophe, ALIMA urges governments and donors to significantly increase funding for a humanitarian response that is commensurate with the challenges.

“Families and their children are suffering from this nutritional crisis in the Sahel region. There is an urgent need to strengthen the humanitarian response in the region to provide medical and nutritional care to affected children. We need an immediate increase in funding to respond to these emergencies,” insists Moumouni Kinda.

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