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Sahel Food Crisis: 10 Leading Aid Agencies Call for Urgent 'Surge' in Aid for 10 Million Hungry People

NEW YORK, NY— Ten leading aid agencies today called for a 'surge' in the humanitarian effort to help 10 million people at risk of acute hunger across the Sahel region of West and Central Africa. The center of the crisis is Niger, where seven million people, almost half the population, have not enough food.

HOW TO: Prevent the Sahel's next food crisis

"'We need to bridge humanitarian and development interventions, and integrate all sectors. Crises are increasingly frequent and complex and go beyond the national and regional level; they need to be dealt with accordingly,'" said Patricia Hoorelbeke, the West Africa representative of Action Against Hunger/ACF International. The standard responses, or those crafted for past crises, are not a solution, she commented.

Drought threatens African humanitarian crisis

"Pastoralists – and settled farmers – from the rural areas are drifting into towns. Not just the men, who usually make seasonal migrations for work, but women and children too. These are sometimes epic journeys of up to 1,000km. Journeys made to escape the hunger.

'It’s difficult for people to adapt to these changes,' Patricia Hoorelbeke, the regional representative for Action Against Hunger, told me over the phone. 'But they have to. They have to move and it’s causing pressure on the land. And when they get to the towns, they have no money. It’s a big problem.'"

In Brief: Mixed blessing of first rain

"Sudden temperature change, the physiological demands on the digestive system of changing from a fodder to a grass diet, and water-borne diseases are always taxing for the cattle. 'Since the animals are already extremely weak, many are expected to die with the first rains,' said NGO Action Against Hunger’s (ACF) West Africa regional representative Patricia Hoorelbeke.

10 million fear worst as Sahel faces new food crisis

"Sixty kilometres (40 miles) from Mao, at Nokou, people make do with whatever dates they can find near dry river beds to survive, said a member of the Action contre la faim (Action against Hunger) NGO."

MALI: Oxfam raises alert on funding shortfall

"Aid groups in the north include the World Food Programme (WFP), which works through the local authorities, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), the International Committee of the Red Cross, Oxfam, Action Contre La Faim and Save the Children, which mainly work through local NGOs such as the Malian Red Cross."

The Human Face of Climate Change

"Where is the rain?"

After inquiring about the health of family members and livestock, the Tamasheq, a nomadic tribe in Mali, greet each other by asking about the weather.

But this isn’t just idle chit-chat. For them, the rains mean everything.

Severe Drought Causes Acute Malnutrition Spike in Eastern Mali

Gao, Eastern Mali—International humanitarian organization Action Against Hunger | ACF International has issued an appeal for urgent action to counter the alarming rates of acute malnutrition in Gao, an eastern region of Mali. Surveys carried out in the area reveal that 16% of children under five—more than 1,600 in total—have moderate or severe acute malnutrition, a proportion that exceeds the World Health Organization’s emergency threshold of 15%.

Highlighting the Role of Hunger at International AIDS Conference

The International humanitarian organization Action Against Hunger / ACF-USA has been selected to present its findings on the vital role that proper nutrition can play in alleviating the ill effects of AIDS at the upcoming International Conference on AIDS (Mexico City, August 3-8, 2008). The conference’s official scientific committee selected and validated ACF’s groundbreaking field research based on the aid organization’s recent experiences in Malawi and Mali.

Mali: Food Situation Looks Positive Despite Insecurity

"But the country has not been entirely insulated from global food price rises, particularly when it comes to rice. Mali produces on average half of its total annual rice consumption, importing the rest mostly from Asia. 'We have seen some rises in the price of local rice,' said Christian Bren from the non-governmental organisation Action Contre la Faim in Gao, 'but Mali has better managed the high prices than the other countries.'"

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About Action Against Hunger | ACF International

Action Against Hunger is internationally recognized as a leader in the fight against global malnutrition. Action Against Hunger works to save the lives of malnourished children while providing communities with access to safe water and sustainable solutions to hunger. With over 30 years of expertise in emergency situations of conflict, natural disaster, and chronic food insecurity, Action Against Hunger runs life-saving programs in some 40 countries benefiting 5 million people each year.

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