June, 29 2012
Montreal, June 29th, 2012
Dear Friends of CECI,
CECI has launched a new emergency plea for food security in West Africa.
We need to extend our humanitarian intervention into three more countries. In addition to Niger, we will also have to intervene in Mali, Senegal and Burkina Faso where the situation has become much more serious.
You have all been so very generous. Your donations have allowed us to respond quickly to Niger, but we still need your help to bring aid to other threatened people in the region.
Over 18 million people are currently food insecure, including 6.4 million in Niger (or 41% of the population), 3.5 million in Mali (23% of the population), 2.9 million people in Burkina Faso (16% of the population), and 739,000 in Senegal (5.6% of the population).
Several factors explain this crisis:
- late and erratic rains;
- a long drought in 2011;
- the political crisis in Mali;
- instability that stretches across Northern Africa;
- instability in northern Nigeria;
- rising food prices;
- the return home of Libyan refugees.
Even worse, the 2011 Libyan conflict and political instability in Mali also add to the severity of the crisis, causing the displacement of people who are often left without wages. Since mid-January, clashes in northern Mali between separatist rebels and the government have forced more than 315,000 people to flee to areas further south or to seek refuge in neighboring countries such as Niger, Burkina Faso, Algeria and Mauritania.
In October 2011, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) had sounded the alarm. Eight months later, the call is still muted and unheard. The funds to help these affected populations are not enough to help ease this increasing problem.
The crisis is spreading and is now severely affecting countries like Senegal and Burkina Faso, along with Mali and Niger, where CECI has already been for many years, leading development projects, fighting poverty and promoting inclusion for all.
The current situation is particularly alarming because of the extreme vulnerability of the populations, already weakened by two similar crises in 2005 and 2010.
CECI is the only Canadian NGO to have a large scale food security project in the area. Knowing what is happening, we feel it is our duty to launch a call for assistance before a true famine hits.
To limit the food insecurity of vulnerable households and to prepare for the next winter agricultural season, CECI proposes an emergency intervention whose objectives are:
- to secure the agricultural system;
- to enhance the availability and affordability of basic grains;
- to make sure the most vulnerable households can afford to buy food and basic necessities.
In Niger, we work with households in 85 villages in five communities in the Tahoua region, 231,274 people, 51% of them are women.
In Senegal, we are targeting families in northern municipalities, in the regions of Podor and Matam, or 33,818 people in total.
In Mali, we are distributing food and essential items to displaced people in the Mopti region bordering northern Mali where conflict rages.
In Burkina Faso, we are currently setting up an intervention strategy to help to refugees near the Mali border, to ensure the distribution of food and basic necessities.
The consequences of the food crisis on developing countries of the Sahel will be catastrophic. For example, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the Niger Ministry of Education, 45,000 children have already left school in this country because of the food crisis.
It is from the bottom of my heart that I write to you today to ask your assistance and help us minimize and reduce this catastrophe,