Sahel region: Strong leadership, comprehensive response plans, coordinated and speedy action and continued generosity from donors needed, says ERC Valerie Amos
5/25/2012 6:00:00 AM -
DAKAR, Sénégal, May 25, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- 'To avoid the food crisis in the Sahel Region becoming a catastrophe we need strong leadership, comprehensive response plan; coordinated and speedy action and continued generosity from the regional and international community,' said Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos today in Dakar.
Ms. Amos has just completed a four-day visit to Burkina Faso and Senegal, visiting areas affected by the drought in western Senegal and in Burkina Faso. In Senegal, Ms. Amos visited a food and seed distribution centre, a community centre where mothers learn how to recognize early signs of malnutrition and how to prepare enriched food for their children. She also visited a health centre where severely malnourished children are treated. All three are located in the Diourbel region, one of the regions most affected by the drought.
In both countries she discussed how best humanitarian agencies can support the national response plans and put in place practical measures to enhance community resilience.
Humanitarian partners estimate that more than 18 million people in the Sahel region are now affected by the food security and nutrition crisis. This includes about 2.8 million people in Burkina Faso - one fifth of the total population. In Senegal, more than 800,000 people are food insecure in 2012. 'Many families have had to sell their livestock to cover their household food needs or they are eating the seeds that they should plant for the next season,' said USG Amos.
The humanitarian situation is expected to remain critical at least until the main harvest this autumn in Senegal and elsewhere. Other priorities include health, water and sanitation programmes. Ms. Amos also emphasized the need to build up people's ability to cope with future drought and other shocks and reduce dependence on emergency aid.