General overview: context, crisis, and needs
The West and Central Africa region struggles with some of the world’s most acute and prolonged crises. Violence, deep poverty, internal displacement, rapid population growth, climate change, chronically high food insecurity, and malnutrition continue to drive extreme levels of vulnerability. Conflicts in the region’s hotspots persist or have worsened. The COVID-19 pandemic, related prevention measures, and socioeconomic consequences are deeply affecting fragile communities.
The compounded impact on the most vulnerable people is devastating and causing unprecedented, fast-escalating needs. Compared to last year, the number of people in need in the region has increased by 35 per cent. More than 1 person in 10 requires assistance and protection in 2021. Close to 1,000 humanitarian partner organizations are working across the region to respond to the most urgent needs of these people. Relief operations and local capacity require further scale-up, but funding is not keeping up. Climate change and extreme weather events are major drivers of needs. Droughts are becoming more recurrent and severe, threatening livelihoods in vulnerable rural communities. Rainfall is irregular and increasingly unpredictable. In 2020, flooding affected 2.3 million people in 18 countries of the region, destroying goods, land, and livestock.
In 2021, more than 54 million West and Central Africans require assistance. Burkina Faso, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali, Niger, and Nigeria have developed Humanitarian Response Plans requiring more than US $6 billion to reach about 35 million people with aid. As of July 2021, only 17 per cent of the required funding was secured.