International Federation response to the hunger crisis in
West Africa has been an extraordinary undertaking. Last year’s
drought combined with an invasion of locusts put millions
of people in urgent
need of help.
The Red Cross emergency
response, which was launched in late July, began with a handful
of delegates in Niger’s capital Niamey, a couple of
4x4 cars and some communications equipment. A month later,
30 international staff and hundreds of National Society volunteers
were distributing thousands of tonnes of desperately needed
food and medicine at feeding centres across the region.
In Niger, some 24,500
malnourished children under five years old will receive nutritional
supplements over the next six months. Their families will
also receive a so-called protection ration of rice, beans
and oil. In neighbouring Mali, nomadic communities in the
north will receive general rations, and 2,200 families have
already been fed in Burkina Faso. Strategies to support livelihoods
in the longer term are also under development.
In cooperation with National
Societies and the World Food Programme, the International
Federation will reach some 532,000 people over the next six
months, a pivotal contribution to the international aid response.