Sahel Crisis Update
More than 850,000 children receive lifesaving treatment, the largest humanitarian effort of its kind ever in the Sahel region.
In late 2011, UNICEF early warning systems predicted that poor rains and failed harvests would create a food and nutrition crisis in West and Central Africa's Sahel region, jeopardizing the lives of more than one million children in nine countries—Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Gambia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal.
Working Against Time to Save Children's Lives
Of particular concern during the Sahel crisis was the 2012 "lean season," the period just before the next harvest when food would be especially scarce. UNICEF appealed for funding and rapidly prepared a comprehensive response plan that included therapeutic food, the prevention and treatment of malaria, immunization, and adequate sanitation. Swift donor response allowed UNICEF and its partners to jump into action and increase the number of nutrition centers by over 50%, provision them with supplies and equipment, and set up mobile clinics to service isolated areas. In all, it was the most extensive intervention ever seen in the Sahel.
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A Catastrophe Averted, Help Still Needed
By year's end, 850,000 children were projected to have received treatment for severe acute malnutrition. Millions were immunized against life-threatening diseases, and 7.3 million families received insecticide-treated bed nets to prevent malaria. Steps were also taken to improve governments' abilities to monitor malnutrition and to make families more resilient in the face of similar shocks.
Still, thousands of children have yet to be reached with treatment. The situation in Mali has been complicated by continued civil conflict. And while rains are producing better crops, it can take two years for families to recover from the loss of animals and income. The children of the Sahel still urgently need your help.
UNICEF's Emergency Relief Efforts in Sahel
April 19, 2013
Chad experiences chronic drought among its harsh and erratic climatic conditions, and nearly 20 percent of the country’s children die before their fifth birthdays. During periods of drought, many children suffer from severe acute malnutrition. In response to the nutrition crisis in Chad and the Sahel Belt region, UNICEF and partners have scaled up services and facilities to treat the growing number of children affected by malnutrition. The number of treatment centers has doubled, and hundreds of tons of supplies have been delivered.
December 27, 2012
Humming softly, Fatimatou cradles her healthy, smiling 9-month-old boy Sidiahmed in her lap. It’s been a long time since she could relax and play with him. Fatimatou is a single mother, and her son was born during the nutrition crisis in the Sahel. Just over a month ago, Sidiahmed was malnourished—and often unresponsive. Fatimou took her son to a nearby UNICEF-supported outpatient nutrition center. Here, the baby received treatment for malnutrition, and Fatimatou learned techniques to help stimulate her baby and aid in his development.
December 12, 2012
More than 850,000 children received lifesaving treatment for severe acute malnutrition across nine countries in the Sahel region of West and Central Africa in 2012, says a report released today by UNICEF. This represents the largest humanitarian effort of its kind ever in the region. UNICEF, alongside governments, other UN agencies, and humanitarian organizations mounted the response, with significant support from donors. Last December, UNICEF warned that 1.1 million children would suffer from severe acute malnutrition in the Sahel region.