The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) announced today that more than a quarter of Africa’s population – 346 million people – is suffering a food security crisis that has millions of families skipping meals every day, an alarming famine situation that is certain to worsen in the coming months.
From Mauritania and Burkina Faso in the west to Somalia and Ethiopia in the east, the continent is gripped by a food crisis. In response, the International Committee of the Red Cross and Red Crescent (ICRC) will expand operations in ten countries, working together with other components of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement to assist an additional 2.8 million people.
“This is a calamity that has gone mostly overlooked.” “Millions of people go hungry, and children die from malnutrition,” says Dominik Stillhart, the ICRC’s worldwide operations director.
“We’re expanding our activities in Somalia, Kenya, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, and other countries to help as many people as possible, but the number of people without food and water is startling.”
Conflict, environmental shocks such as East Africa’s droughts and West Africa’s cumulative bad rainfalls, a major increase in displaced persons, and rising food and fuel prices have all contributed to the region’s overwhelming demands. To make matters worse, many of the countries affected are still dealing with the economic consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Limited access to vulnerable communities due to insecurity, as well as the international armed conflict in Ukraine, has contributed to higher food and fuel prices as well as lengthier delivery times due to supply route delays.
“With this catastrophe, we need more people on board.” The ICRC’s main task is to keep people alive, yet this isn’t nearly enough. A crisis of this magnitude necessitates a concerted effort from governments, humanitarian partners, and funders to focus on mid-and long-term support to assist individuals who have been impacted in regaining their footing. “This has to be the first priority,” Stillhart argues.
The International Committee of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is assisting people in Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, the Central African Republic, Chad, Cameroon, Nigeria, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Mauritania, where the food security crisis is most acute.