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Concerns Rise Over Food Insecurity In Africa’s Sahel Region

“Despite early indications the Sahel would not suffer pangs of hunger this year, experts now worry that food insecurity could be worse than in 2012 — the year of the West Africa food crisis,” Thomson Reuters Foundation reports. “Ten million people in the Sahel remain food insecure, and 4.5 million children under-five are at risk of acute malnutrition,” the news service notes, adding, “Floods in northern Nigeria as well as conflict throughout the region are thought to be the main causes for increasing food insecurity throughout the Sahel.” In addition, “[t]he conflict in Mali has also caused strains, with supply routes closing and Arab traders who supplied markets in the country’s north fleeing,” the news service writes (Hussain, 4/26). “On Thursday four international agencies warned that northern Mali will descend to emergency levels of food insecurity in less than two months if conditions do not improve,” The Guardian reports. “[T]he war — which since January has led to the intervention of French and African military forces — has created long-term instability and huge displacement in northern Mali,” the newspaper notes, adding, “The U.N. says 282,548 people are now registered displaced in Mali, and almost 50,000 refugees are in Burkina Faso and Niger, and 74,000 in Mauritania.” According to the newspaper, “[m]any organizations working on food distribution in northern Mali say they are facing a funding shortfall” (Hirsch, 4/29).