NewsAfricaThe UN warns that 48 million people could suffer from hunger in West and Central Africa in 2023

The UN warns that 48 million people could suffer from hunger in West and Central Africa in 2023

File – Displaced people in a field on the outskirts of Maiduguri, in Borno State, northeastern Nigeria – SALLY HAYDEN / SOPA IMAGES / ZUMA PRESS / CONTACT


The United Nations has warned that the number of people suffering from hunger in West and Central Africa could rise to 48 million by 2023, including nine million children, if urgent measures are not put in place to address the crisis, which would thus reach forms its all-time high.

The latest published analysis on food security reveals that more than 35 million people, including 6.7 million children, cannot meet their basic food and nutrition needs. This figure represents about eight percent of the population of this region.

The situation is especially worrying in the conflict-affected areas of the Lake Chad basin and the Liptako-Gourma region –Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger–, where 25,500 people will suffer catastrophic hunger during the lean season that runs from June to August 2023, the period in which food reserves from the previous harvest are depleted.

For this reason, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Food Program (WFP) have called on governments throughout the region to increase the support and investments in food security programs to strengthen the resilience of communities.

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“The outlook for food and nutrition security by 2023 is extremely worrying and this should be the last wake-up call for governments in the region and their partners,” said Chris Nikoi, WFP Regional Director for West Africa.

“Strengthening the resilience of communities must become a singular and collective focus for all of us if we are to bring this situation back from the precipice before it is too late,” he stressed.

In fact, despite the good harvest prospects, the improvement in the market situation and the increase in cereal production estimates throughout the region, food insecurity and malnutrition persist and are spreading from the Sahel to the countries due to persistent insecurity, climate shocks, high food prices, the economic consequences of COVID-19 and the impact of the conflict in Ukraine.

Thus, in Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Togo, the analysis reveals a 20 percent increase in food insecurity during the last quarter of 2022, compared to the same period last year. last year.

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In Nigeria, 25 million women, men and children face moderate to severe food insecurity, which means they can easily fall into an emergency food security situation if an immediate response is not provided.

“The Sahel is teetering on the brink of a full-blown catastrophe. We are seeing declining food availability in most countries and fertilizer prices are rising,” explained FAO’s subregional coordinator for West Africa. , Robert Guei.

In this way, he pointed out that “this could have a negative impact on next year’s crops and worsen an already serious situation for many rural communities.” “We must act now to shore up rural livelihoods before it is too late,” she has argued.

These organizations have detailed that acute malnutrition in children under five years of age is cause for concern, especially in the countries of the Sahel and Nigeria, with rates that exceed the emergency threshold of 15 percent in some areas of Senegal (Louga and Matam), Mauritania (Gorgol and Guidimaka), northeastern Nigeria (Yobe and Borno states) and Niger (Dogon and Doutchi).

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The global acute malnutrition rate also exceeds 10 percent in many areas around the Lake Chad Basin (Niger, Nigeria, and Chad) and the border areas between Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger, where conflict, population displacement, and limited access to basic services are among the underlying causes of this situation.

“The latest data indicates unacceptably high levels of severe acute malnutrition for children in many countries in West and Central Africa, which has a devastating impact on the future of the region,” said the UNICEF Regional Director for Africa. West and Central, Marie-Pierre Poirier, who has called for “expanding treatment and paying much more attention to the prevention of child malnutrition through a multisectoral approach to reach all children.”

Faced with this situation, these three agencies and their partners have committed to addressing this unprecedented food and nutrition crisis through a robust food systems approach, with multiple and integrated programs that offer nutrition, health, water, hygiene and sanitation responses for children. and girls, women and other vulnerable groups.


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