Oxfam: West Africa Faces Humanitarian Catastrophe

World | March 9, 2012, Friday // 11:38

Extensive draught and hostilities in sub-Saharan African countries could lead to a catastrophic famine, warned charity organization Oxfam.

According to the charity, the disaster could affect as many as 13 M people in the region of West Africa known as the Sahel.

The charity says the international community waited too long to respond to famine in East Africa last year, writes the BBC.

Oxfam has launched a USD 36 M emergency appeal to help reach more than a million of the most vulnerable.

Launching its appeal, Oxfam said that malnutrition rates across Chad, Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and northern Senegal are hovering between 10% and 15%, and in some areas have risen beyond the emergency threshold level of 15%.

The number of children at risk of severe malnutrition in sub-Saharan Africa is well over a million, according to the organization's data.

In addition to droughts leading to poor crops, fighting between rebels and the army in northern Mali has caused more than 100,000 people to flee their homes - half of them crossing into Niger and other countries that are already hard-pressed.

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Tags: Oxfam, West Africa, Sahel, famine, draught, Mali, Niger, senegal, Burkina Faso, Chad
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