Published on 2022 - 06 - 30

Hunger crisis in sub-Saharan Africa

As part of the Government of Canada’s matching fund, Development and Peace is appealing for donations in response to the food crisis in sub-Saharan Africa, which is reaching catastrophic levels.

The food crisis is reaching catastrophic levels in sub-Saharan Africa, where millions of people are facing acute food insecurity at emergency and catastrophe levels, including widespread famine. As a member of the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, Development and Peace — Caritas Canada is participating in the $5 million matching fund launched until July 17 by the Government of Canada and the Humanitarian Coalition in response to this hunger crisis in sub-Saharan Africa.

The worsening situation

Sub-Saharan Africa regularly experiences temperature extremes, precipitation shortfalls and other climate-related shocks. Following several consecutive failed rainy seasons, East Africa, including the Horn of Africa, is currently experiencing its worst drought in 40 years. With drought conditions expected to worsen through to September 2022, around 81.6 million people in East Africa are facing high acute food insecurity, and Ethiopia, Somalia and South Sudan are currently facing famine. The Sahel is also suffering the consequences of one of the worst rainfalls in the last 40 years, and more than 12 million people are at risk of severe food insecurity, including 1.7 million at emergency levels, in five Sahelian countries: Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Chad.

These climate-related factors are being compounded by population displacement and market disruptions from local armed conflicts and two years of COVID-19 measures, as well as significant food and fertilizer shortages and prices rises due to the war in Ukraine and related sanctions on Russia. Half of Africa’s wheat imports come from Russia and Ukraine, which are also major global producers and suppliers of fertilizers and other staple food commodities like maize, sunflower seeds and oil.

Our response

With the growing risk of famine in sub-Saharan Africa, Development and Peace is providing emergency assistance to avert a humanitarian disaster. In Somalia, our partner on the ground is already providing live-saving treatment for severe and moderate acute malnutrition to children under five and pregnant and lactating women, as well as training and awareness-raising sessions to parents and caregivers to enhance their knowledge and skills on nutrition. Funds raised through the current appeal will increase the amount of urgent assistance we can provide to save more lives in Somalia. In addition, depending on the response to this appeal, we are looking at potentially supporting other local partners, including those in the Caritas network, which can provide live-saving assistance in other countries affected by the crisis, such as South Sudan and Nigeria.

We produce enough food for all people, but many go without their daily bread. This “constitutes a genuine scandal”, an offence that violates basic human rights. Therefore, it is everyone’s duty to eliminate this injustice through concrete actions and good practices, and through bold local and international policies. — Pope Francis, message on the occasion of the pre-summit for the 2021 UN Food System Summit

In addition to urgent assistance, we are already supporting long-term local solutions to such crises by implementing food security and sovereignty projects in the farming and food processing sectors in the Global South, such as in the Sahel and Madagascar. These projects support smallholder farming practices that are resilient to climate change and international market fluctuations, while combatting the constraints faced by those working at other points in the food chain. This investment in smallholder farmers will help us further reinforce local agri-food markets, promote sustainable ecological farming practices, increase food sovereignty in sub-Saharan Africa and avoid future famines.

How you can help now

We cannot stand by as people starve. Donations made by individual Canadians in response to this hunger crisis will be matched by the Government of Canada until July 17. This period is critical to ensuring that with our partners, we help the victims of this humanitarian catastrophe. Your generosity will provide urgent aid to the people of sub-Saharan Africa. Your generosity will save lives.

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