Food crisis deepens in West Africa

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

  • west-africa-drought-8.jpgTin'Akoff village, Burkina Faso, five miles from the Mali border. Elmanoume Ferebybaye, chief of the village, says the current food crisis is a catastrophe – the worst January/February he can remember since the 1973 drought.
  • west-africa-drought-1.jpgTin'Akoff village, Burkina Faso, five miles from the Mali border. Walisim Issoif, 46, is a widow. Through a community resilience building project funded by ACT Alliance member, Christian Aid, and the UK's Department for International Development, she learned to make leather goods to sell in the market. With this money, she is able to buy subsidised cereal from the community cereal bank that was set up through the project.
  • west-africa-drought-2.jpgTin'Akoff village, Burkina Faso, five miles from the Mali border. Women and children are the most vulnerable in the food crisis.
  • west-africa-drought-3.jpgTin'Akoff, Burkina Faso, five miles from the Mali border. Akmoudou, 32 (l), and Fatumatou, 28 (r), have had to resort to eating wild food such as water lily roots which they would normally feed to their livestock. Akmoudou lost his job in the Ivory Coast due to the turmoil in the country last year and had to sell his livestock to pay for a ticket home. Now the couple have nothing but their house.
  • west-africa-drought-4.jpgTin'Akoff, Burkina Faso, five miles from the Mali border. Fatumatou, 28, has had to resort to feeding her young family with wild food such as the leaves that have fallen from wild thorn bushes. These leaves are slightly poisonous and are normally used to feed to livestock when food runs short at the end of the dry season. This year there is still six months to go until the dry season ends.
  • west-africa-drought-5.jpgTin'Akoff village, Burkina Faso, five miles from the Mali border. Tahya Wellet Etawantaw, 30, and her husband are struggling to feed their five daughters even one meal a day. They have lost all their animals and do not know how they are going to get by for the next six months. One of her daughters is ill but she cannot afford to pay for a doctor or buy medicine.
  • west-africa-drought-7.jpgMasbore village, Zondoma province, Burkina Faso, during meal time. Many people "literally don’t know where their next meal is coming from," said ACT Alliance governing board member, Paul Valentin, during Christian Aid's recent staff visit to the country.
  • west-africa-drought-6.jpgMasbore village, Zondoma province, Burkina Faso. Food shortages could leave as many as two million people at risk in Burkina alone. "If we don't react now, we may have a situation in April where famine is all over northern Burkina because they could not stay more than two months in the situation they have now," concludes Cristina Ruiz, Christian Aid's regional emergency manager for West Africa.