UN cuts refugee rations in Africa’s Sahel amid ‘alarming’ food insecurity

It said millions would go hungry as prices rise and climate shocks hit yields.

 

UN agencies on Friday reported that food rations for refugees and displaced people are being cut by half in parts of the Sahel due to a massive funding shortfall.

It said millions would go hungry as prices rise and climate shocks hit yields.

The UN humanitarian office (OCHA) estimates that some 18 million people would face severe food insecurity in the next three months across the arid belt that stretches across Africa beneath the Sahara.

OCHA spokesperson Jens Laerke said the office’s 3.8-billion-dollar appeal for the region was less than 12 per cent funded.

Laerke, while briefing newsmen, said the levels of food insecurity were the worst since 2014 adding that the “situation has reached alarming levels in Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali and Niger, where people will experience emergency levels of food insecurity during the lean season between June and August.”

According to the World Food Programme (WFP) in Burkina Faso, rations are currently at 75 per cent in areas that are hard-to-reach and the most food insecure, and 50 per cent at other sites.

It said rations had already been cut by half for displaced people and refugees in Chad adding that the WFP would be forced to reduce them further from July if more funding was not received.

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The WFP added that in Mauritania, the food component of the food-cash ration was being cut by 50 per cent at Mbera camp.

The conflict between major grains producers Russia and Ukraine was one factor that has driven up food prices in Africa and the crisis has also diverted aid from other areas.

Tomson Phiri from the WFP at the news briefing said:” why is it as bad now?

“We have conflict in the West African region, you have COVID still raging, you have climate-induced shocks, you have rising costs which are all colliding to put basic needs out of reach for millions of people.’’

 

 

(Reuters/NAN)

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