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Food Insecurity In Africa’s Sahel Region

Food Insecurity In Africa’s Sahel Region To Be Addressed At Un Meeting In Dakar

At a United Nations meeting Dakar, Senegal, tomorrow, humanitarian and development officials will discuss food security in Africa’s Sahel, a band of land south of the Sahara hit by drought and locusts.

“It is unacceptable that, in a world of plenty, the majority of a population of more than 68 million people are malnourished or constantly threatened by famine, that children die because they are badly or insufficiently nourished,” said UN Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator Margareta Wahltsröm.

The two-day joint dialogue will focus on both the immediate and the structural causes of the subregion’s recurring food crises as part of efforts to mitigate and prevent future crises.

Since 1972, the countries of the Sahel – Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Chad, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal – have suffered acute food and nutritional crises about every ten years, endangering the lives and health of the population and impeding development. “Certainly, factors such as drought and locusts contribute to these crises, but there are also structural and cultural factors,” said Hervé Ludovic de Lys, Director of the West Africa regional office of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), which is organizing the conference along with the UN Development Programme (UNDP).

The aim of the event, he said, is to render food crises “a part of Africa’s past.”

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