Sahel update

Text : WFP Photos : Action Press/Virot
Geneva, 10 April 2012
World Food ProgrammeThe United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today warned that many lives risk being lost to hunger and malnutrition in the drought-hit Sahel region of West Africa unless new donations are received immediately for a massive food assistance operation.
The window of opportunity to save lives is narrowing by the day, there are only four weeks left to procure 180,000 metric tonnes of cereals and 36,000 metric tonnes of pulses — that’s about half the total needed to feed more than 8 million people through the June to September lean season.
If no new food or cash contributions are received immediately, the resulting break in food deliveries would be catastrophic for the most vulnerable.
Having sounded the alarm on the Sahel food crisis as early as October 2011, WFP acted swiftly, using advance financing, forward purchasing, regional food procurement and airlifts of specialized nutrition products. It has so far been providing food assistance for 2.2 million drought-affected people across the mostly landlocked region, where it takes up to four months to transport food assistance to those who need it most.
WFPBut WFP’s plans to scale up emergency operations to reach 8.8 million people during the peak of the lean season could be derailed unless sufficient funding can be secured to help plug a shortfall of more than US$ 400 million to acquire food for distribution and to run cash and voucher programmes in areas where food is available but people are too poor to afford it.
WFP’s overall response strategy, set up in coordination with governments, local and international partners, has a budget of US$740 million.
Now the conflict in Mali has led to the displacement of more than 200, 000 people within Mali and into neighbouring countries, putting an added strain on already vulnerable, food insecure communities.