More than 40 million people are facing severe food insecurity
The dramatic deterioration of security, climate shocks, high food prices, as well as the socio-economic impacts of Covid-19, have deepened people’s vulnerability and challenged their access to food. As a result, in 2021 across the region, more than 40 million people are facing severe food insecurity. Of particular concern is the Central Sahel and the Lake Chad Basin, including Northern Nigeria, which is just one step away from catastrophe.
The Sahel region is now entering the lean season, which is predicted to experience an unprecedented level of food insecurity. Almost 14 million people will face crisis or emergency levels of food insecurity, according to the most recent joint food security assessment. In the Central Sahel, 5.2 million people will find themselves in a food crisis. In the Lake Chad basin, 5.1 million will face hunger in 2021, half a million more than last year.
Furthermore, food prices have been increasing dramatically across the region since 2020. In Nigeria, Niger, and Chad, for example, the prices of major staples rose between 30 to 120% compared to the past five-year average.
Malnutrition persists and risks deteriorating fast in conflict-affected areas. 6.3 million children under 5 suffer from acute malnutrition, including 1.6 million of its severe form. Sustained relief, health system strengthening measures, long-term prevention and early detection at the household level are required to tackle undernutrition and build systems and community resilience.