|Mothers and children|
Refugees in Africa's west Sahel Region
Photo: UN Togo
UNICEF is most concerned about the impact that famine is having on the development of the children in the region. As a short-term measure, it is setting up nutrition rehabilitation centers across the region and hopes to double the number in operation in the next two months. According to U.N. officials "it costs a lot less to immunize children and prevent disease, then to treat them when they become malnourished and close to starvation."
- 5.4 million in Niger
- 3.0 million in Mali
- 1.7 million in Burkina Faso
- 3.6 million in Chad
- hundreds of thousands in Senegal, the Gambia, Mauritania, and Togo
The targeted fundraising goals are not only for food aid but also to provide healthcare and shelter to refugees fleeing the drought and warfare. Some of the funding will also be targeted at constructing or rebuilding agriculture infrastructure such as irrigation systems so that the people can make a livelihood from farming.
According to World Vision's Chris Webster, while the media has focused attention on the famine in the Horn Africa, it has not successfully communicated the seriousness of the famine across the Sahel region. He notes that the situation is very serious now and will be much worse in five weeks time as humanitarian agencies will lose the ability to provide an early response.
For more see:
"Amid a regional hunger crisis, mothers in Chad trek on donkeys to find food for their children," Associated Press, 22 April 2012.
DeCapua, Joe. "Aid Agencies Seek a Billion Dollars for Sahel Relief," Voice of America, 24 April 2012.