18 million face severe famine in West Africa’s Sahel:

A total of 18 million people in the Sahel region of Africa will face severe hunger over the next three months, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) warned on Friday, citing the effects of Russia’s war on Ukraine, the coronavirus pandemic, the climate caused shocks and rising costs.

The famine crisis could force an increasing number of people to migrate out of the affected areas, OCHA said.

The largest number of people is at risk of severe hunger in the whole region since 2014, and four countries – Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali and Niger – are facing “alarming levels”, with almost 1.7 million people facing acute levels of food supply where. according to the UN agency.

Parts of the Sahel region, a vast territory that stretches across the southern Sahara, have faced their worst agricultural production in more than a decade, and food shortages could worsen when the lean season comes in late summer, said Tomson Phiri, a spokesman for the UN. Nobel Peace Prize-winning World Food Program, said.

Malnourished children await treatment at the pediatric ward of Boulmiougou Hospital in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, April 15, 2022. (AP Photo)

Many people from the region are among migrants who want to travel north to Europe in the hope of economic opportunities, more stability and security.

“A combination of violence, insecurity, deep poverty and record food prices exacerbates malnutrition and pushes millions to the limits of survival,” said Martin Griffiths, head of OCHA, in a statement.

“The recent rise in food prices driven by the conflict between Russia and Ukraine threatens to turn a food supply crisis into a humanitarian catastrophe,” he said. These two countries are key producers of wheat, barley and other agricultural products, and the conflict has almost completely stopped exports through the Black Sea.

Griffith’s office is releasing $ 30 million from its relief fund for the four African countries.

Humanitarian groups earlier this year launched appeals to seek $ 3.8 billion in aid to the region in 2022, but they remain only 12% funded, OCHA said.

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