May 11th, 2012 | by Anna Kramer
(click on the image to expand the infographic)
A food crisis is now gripping the Sahel region of West Africa. A host of factors–including erratic rainfall, meager harvests, and the lingering effects of an earlier food crisis in 2010–have combined to put more than 18 million people at risk of hunger. For the latest information about who’s affected and where, Oxfam’s response, and how you can help, check out our new infographic above. Then share it with others and help us raise awareness about a crisis that’s not making headlines.
Oxfam is aiming to help 1.2 million people across seven countries with programs that include cash transfers and cash-for-work initiatives, veterinary care for the livestock on which many families depend, and access to clean water and sanitation. We are also campaigning to change the root causes of this crisis. Find out how you can support our efforts.
March 26th, 2012 | by Coco McCabe
Maka Djibo is the president of a garden co-operative in Niger. Photo by Fatoumata Diabate/Oxfam
Hungry for spring, people here seemed to be celebrating in the disturbingly high temperatures that hit Boston last week. But all I could think about was how parched the ground is at a time of year when it should be spongy with the snowmelt that replenishes the ground water we’ll need later this summer.
How would we manage if there was a severe water shortage here?
I keep thinking about the daily struggle countless families in West Africa are now facing as their limited water supplies shrink: a food crisis is looming for millions of people, triggered in part by little rainfall.
Poor harvests in Banibangou village in Niger, near the border with Mali, means that some families have already exhausted their supply of millet. But women there are working to stave off the worst with produce harvested from their vegetable co-operative. Read the rest of this entry »
July 8th, 2010 | by Guest Blogger
"Everyone is hungry. There is nothing to eat," says Raha Souley, who was planting beans after some rain finally fell. Photo: Caroline Gluck/Oxfam
Caroline Gluck is a humanitarian press officer for Oxfam. She is reporting from Niger.
I’ve been left with some haunting images over the last few days as I’ve travelled in Niger to document the country’s worsening food crisis.
A mother who brought in her emaciated one year old son to a malnutrition clinic, weighing half the normal average weight for a child of his age. She was so under-nourished herself that she had no breast milk to feed him.
Families who supplement cassava and millet flour with wild leaves and berries to fill their stomachs. Proud livestock herders for whom their animals are their sole source of income – literally, their bank accounts–forced to sell them at bargain basement prices. And a drive through an area I have dubbed the animal graveyard – a journey of more than four miles where I counted more than 70 dead animals half-buried in the bleached desert sand. Some lay under the shade of a tree, their bared teeth grinning grimly from their sunken skulls. Read the rest of this entry »
July 2nd, 2010 | by Coco McCabe
Women dig through anthills in search of small amounts of grain the insects have stored there. Photo by Oxfam
“Five years ago the world ignored warning signs from Niger, failed to act rapidly, and lives were lost. The international community cannot make the same mistake again.”
Those are the words of Mamadou Biteye, a regional director for Oxfam in West Africa sounding the alarm for a food crisis that, so far, has failed to penetrate the consciousness of much of the western world. The stunning thing is it’s affecting 10 million people across the Sahel region of West Africa—10 million people who are scrambling to find enough to eat.
What does that mean?
For women in the Chadian village of Djaya, it means rising early and spending the day under the hot sun digging through anthills in search of small cashes of grain stored there by insects. If they’re lucky, some of them can scrape together about five and a half pounds from a day’s work. Read the rest of this entry »
June 9th, 2010 | by Coco McCabe
Cassava dries in the sun in Kitgum, Uganda. Photo by Geoff Sayer/Oxfam
Hunger has no tipping point. It’s too blunt for that. A child has enough to eat and has the energy to grow and think and learn. Or she doesn’t.
But our perceptions about hunger can reach a tipping point: it’s the moment we begin to connect the global headlines–and feel a wave of worry.
It started for me last week with a story in the New York Times about a blight along the shores of Lake Victoria in Uganda that’s ravaging the cassava, a tubby white tuber that is a staple there—and for 800 million people on our planet. Called brown streak, it mottles the tubers with clumps of brown that look like rot. The virus is a mutation of one that has plagued farmers on Tanzania’s coast for seven decades, but this new invader is now marching through inland fields around the lake and could bring devastation to small farmers across East Africa. And if it jumps shores—to Asia or South America—millions more could be affected. Read the rest of this entry »