West African countries, but especially those in central Sahel, are already facing a complicated nutritional situation that threatens to worsen the coronavirus, as it occurred at a crucial time of the year when farmers have to grow their crops and shepherds move their herds looking for pasture and water.
There are currently over 11 million people in need of food aid in this part of the continent and the worst forecasts are that it will reach 17 million in the lean season from June to August “if you don’t respond quickly”. explains Coumba Sow, coordinator of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) for resilience in West Africa.
The UN agency is particularly concerned about the humanitarian crisis in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger in central Sahel, where “around 4 million people are already extremely hungry” and the number is expected to reach 5. According to Sow, it is August 5, suggesting that 2 million people could live in this situation in Burkina Faso alone, a number “three times higher than last year in the same period”.
There are also 1.2 million internally displaced people in the region, mostly due to the violence that has struck these three countries in recent years and which is largely carried out by jihadist groups linked to Al Qaeda and the Islamic State also of an inter-community nature and by both security forces and self-defense groups.