The Sahel region of West and Central Africa continues to experience significant food shortages caused by recent drought, rising food prices and violence, affecting millions of people in the area. A new UNICEF report found that more than 850,000 children in the region received treatment for severe acute malnutrition in 2012. UNICEF writes:
New York, NY, December 12, 2012 — More than 850,000 children received lifesaving treatment for severe acute malnutrition across nine countries in the Sahel region of West and Central Africa in 2012, says a report released today by UNICEF. This figure is a projection based on the more than 730,000 children under the age of five treated at clinics in the region between January and the end of September.
This represents the largest humanitarian effort of its kind ever in the region. UNICEF, alongside governments, other UN agencies, and humanitarian organizations mounted the response, with significant support from donors. Last December, UNICEF warned that 1.1 million children would suffer from severe acute malnutrition in the Sahel region and would need specialized help. The countries of Chad, Burkina Faso, The Gambia, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, along with northern Nigeria, northern Cameroon and parts of northern Senegal, had been affected by poor rainfall and failed harvests.