Eleven International aid groups have reportedly published a statement saying that West Africa is currently facing its worst food crisis in a decade, with around 27 million people in the region suffering from hunger.
The organizations, which include Oxfam, Save the Children, and ALIMA, have also warned that the number may increase to 38 million by June this year, a one-third increase from last year.
They added that the rise would be a historically new level for the region.
The warning comes ahead of a virtual conference about the food and nutrition crisis in Lake Chad (Central Africa) and Sahel (North Africa).
The number of people needing emergency food assistance in West Africa has almost quadrupled since 2015, soaring from 7 to 27 million, and includes areas of Nigeria, Chad, Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso.
Assalama Dawalack Sidi, Regional Director of West and Central Africa, Oxfam, stated that the situation worsened due to the economic impacts of COVID-19, conflict, drought, and floods, displacing millions and pushing them to the brink.
Philippe Adapoe, Director for West and Central Africa, Save the Children, stated that there is not enough food, much less nutritious food for children. Adapoe stressed that urgent help is needed people’s health, future and lives are at risk.
According to the UN, an estimated 6.3 million children, aged between 6 to 59 months will be severely malnourished this year, a 30% increase from last year.
Families are being forced to sell their assets, like cattle, due to food becoming increasingly scarce, especially in the central Sahel region, jeopardizing the population’s productive capacity as well as the future of their children.
Experts predict that driven by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, food prices will be pushed 20% higher globally. Availability of wheat is also expected to reduce significantly across West African nations, which import one-third or at least half their volumes from the conflicting countries.