AFRICA/CHAD - In Sahel, millions of people at risk for starvation

Friday, 28 May 2010

Rome (Agenzia Fides) – Lack of funding is jeopardizing emergency operation in Chad, where about two million people risk starvation after drought and pests have drastically reduced food production, says a statement launched by the FAO. In recent days, the Global Information and Early Warning in agriculture and food FAO (GIEWS) has reported in a special alert. The food situation is very worrying in different parts of the Sahel, and more than 10 million people risk starvation. It is estimated that in comparison to 2008, cereal production in Chad has decreased by 34%, 30% in Niger, Mauritania, 24% and 17% in Burkina Faso. The production of fodder in Niger is about 62% below the requirement, the report alerts.
In Chad last year, the mortality rate of cattle was 30%, and significant deaths of livestock also occurred in parts of Mali. The decline in cereal production, the poor condition of pastures, with food prices still high, "have led to high levels of food insecurity and an increase in malnutrition," the GIEWS report says. It is estimated that this year in Niger, there will be about 2.7 million people will need food aid, while another 5.1 million people in Ethiopia are at risk for food insecurity. In Chad, two million people will need assistance, while 258,000 people will face severe food insecurity in Mali. In Mauritania, about 370,000 people will require food aid. (AP) (Agenzia Fides 05/28/2010)