The crisis in the Sahel region of Western Africa continues. The World Food Programme (WFP) is currently working to bring food assistance to more than nine million people in eight countries. They are calling for donations to help them get food to affected people. And from today until June 14th, every dollar given will be matched by the Dutch National Postcode Lottery, doubling the donation.
The situation in the Sahel is dire. A deepening food emergency, brought on by drought, threatens millions of people across the region. And at the same time, armed conflict in Mali has forced at least 300,000 people to flee their homes in Mali, stretching resources thin.
Rheal Drisdelle, the Niger country director of aid agency Plan, says, "I've been living and working in the Sahel for 25 years and I have never seen a situation like what we are going through right now, it is extremely fragile". He calls it "a perfect storm scenario", with a combination of tribal rebellion, jihadist ideology, drought, weak governance and the introduction of heavy weapons causing serious trouble in Mali and affecting surrounding countries.
From now until the 14th, the WFP is trying to raise awareness of their online fundraising campaign via Facebook and Twitter. If you are able to help, you can visit their donation page right here, and you can spread the word on Twitter using the hashtag #food4sahel, or on Facebook with a link to their Sahel information page, wfp.org/sahel. You can also text the word RELIEF to 45678 to donate $10 to the WFP.
There are some possible signs of hope on the ground. This video showcases the work that the WFP has been doing in Niger, where the organization says "nutrition programmes are bearing fruit" and "helping to protect young children from malnutrition":
George is the WFP's first Canadian Ambassador Against Hunger. Check out his Ambassador page here.
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