Food shortages and malnutrition reach record levels in west and central Africa

More than 50 million people in west and central Africa will go hungry unless immediate is taken to address food insecurity – which is at an all-time high in the region, UN agencies and NGOs have warned.

One in 10 people will have difficulty accessing safe and nutritious food in west and central Africa, projections made by organisations including Unicef ​​and Oxfam have found.

A survey published this week looks at escalating food and nutrition insecurity in Senegal, Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Cameroon and Nigeria.

It was carried out in coordination with governments and the regional economic bloc, Ecowas.

The report predicts 52 million people in the area will have difficulty feeding themselves during the upcoming lean season: the interval between harvests from June to August.

Worsening crisis

Since 2019, the number of people experiencing food insecurity has quadrupled in west and central Africa, the World Food Programme said.

This represents four million more people compared to the same period last year.

Children under five-years-old are the first victims. An unprecedented 17 million of them currently suffer from acute malnutrition globally.

In Nigeria, food insecurity could affect 16 percent of the population – about 30 million people.

In Chad and Sierra Leone, up to 20 percent of the population could be impacted.

Meanwhile in Mali's Menaka region in the north, several thousand people risk suffering from catastrophic hunger, according to the survey, which corresponds to the most serious level of food insecurity.

Conflicts are the main cause of this increase in food insecurity, according to the NGO International Rescue Committee.

Read more on RFI English

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