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30.08.2022 - News

Sahel: food crisis threatens 6 million children

"It is really difficult for us to eat properly
because everything has become expensive in the locality.”

Wendeyida, 24, smiles shyly as she explains the challenges she currently faces. "Here, we have many concerns but the most important thing is food." Wendeyida lives in a small village in the western part of Burkina Faso, in the Boucle du Mouhoun region. For several months, access to food has been increasingly difficult. Prices are rising and goods are becoming scarce on the local market stalls. The price of a kilogram of corn has almost doubled compared to six months ago!

Wendeyida with her son Moussa in her arms

This situation is affecting all countries in the region and is causing a food crisis that threatens the population, especially children. More than 6 million children between the ages of six months and five years are at risk of acute malnutrition this year in the region. The lives of at least 900,000 of them are at risk, the United Nations warned in April.

Wendeyida is holding her one-year-old son Moussa. He plays with his mother's necklace, babbles, participating in the discussion in his own way. Until a few weeks ago, the boy was a victim of malnutrition. "Moussa was not feeling well. I took him to the hospital to be examined. After the examination, the nurse told me that he was suffering from malnutrition and that he should be monitored," explains his mother. She was not surprised by this. "A mother who cannot eat properly will not be able to breastfeed her baby properly," she adds. 

"The children we help need food assistance.
They are often forgotten in times of crisis."

- Souleymane Diallo, Head of the emergency response in the Boucle du Mouhoun

In Burkina Faso, Mali, Guinea, Mauritania and Nigeria, the Terre des hommes teams are mobilising to support the affected families. In Burkina Faso, for example, we screen children for malnutrition, distribute food supplements and advise families like Wendeyida's on their diet. "Today, my child is better and has gained weight too," adds Wendeyida. This is welcome news. For many other children, the situation remains critical. "The needs are becoming more and more enormous," concludes Souleymane.

Give children the possibility to avoid malnutrition. Make a donation.

Drought and violence: a devastating cocktail

Several factors explain the food crisis that is ravaging the Sahel. On the one hand, climate change is causing extreme droughts that drastically reduce harvests. On the other hand, the outbreak of violence is causing families to leave their villages, leaving land uncultivated and putting great pressure on the resources of the host regions. Finally, the war in Ukraine is also contributing to rising prices and dwindling stocks of basic goods.