West Africa Faces Food Shortages, 18 Million Affected

(Photo: Christian Aid)People from Masbore village, Zondoma province, Burkina Faso eat in an undated file photo.

In the Sahel region of West Africa – an east to west belt of land across the continent with the Sahara Desert above and the Sudanian Savanna below – 18 million people are facing food shortages.

The Canadian government recently announced it would match Canadian charitable donations dollar for dollar through the Sahel Crisis Matching Fund.

The fund will provide more food, nutritional support, emergency health care, water and sanitation and livelihood support, noted The Christian Reformed World Relief Committee, which says funds from previous matching campaigns aided their efforts.

Wayne de Jong, CRWRC's Director of Disaster Response and Rehabilitation issued a statement on current fund raising efforts to provide aid for those in need.

"We hope and pray that this new Sahel Crisis Matching Fund will help to stimulate giving, and constituents will echo their generosity of last year towards the East Africa drought response, which enabled CRWRC to provide necessary emergency assistance as well as Disaster Risk Reduction community planning that continues until the present."

CRWRC says it has already assisted 28,000 people in Niger since April through food provision, food for work initiatives and the distribution of improved seeds.

Valerie Amos, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, said in May that "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."

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