Record malnutrition: Africa’s Sahel region to have over 6 million wasted children in 2022, warn UN agencies

Over 900,000 young lives can be at risk in Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal

Madhumita Paul

Down To Earth | April 14, 2022

Around 6.3 million children in the 6-59 months age group will suffer wasting in Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal in 2022, a new report warned. 

Over 1.4 million of these children in these six countries in Africa’s Sahel region will suffer severe wasting, United Nations agencies said in the report published March 2022. 

The number of children under five experiencing acute malnutrition will be the highest in 2022 for the region, the paper by West and Central Africa Regional Nutrition Working Group showed. 

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Almost 5 million refugees in eastern Africa in need of support: UN

Gap between resources and needs has grown along with rise in migrant population

Madhumita Paul

Down To Earth | April 14, 2022

In Eastern Africa, the number of refugees has nearly tripled in the past 10 years to almost 5 million, including 300,000 new refugees last year alone, the United Nations agencies said in a joint statement

Along with the number of refugees in need of support, the gap between resources and needs has also grown. More than 70 per cent refugees do not get a full ration due to funding shortfalls, the statement said. Conflict, climate shocks and COVID-19, combined with spiraling costs of food and fuel, is behind this crisis, it added. 

“Stretched humanitarian resources have forced aid groups to slash food rations, putting more and more children below the age of five at the risk of stunting and wasting,” said Clementine Nkweta-Salami, regional bureau director, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, East, Horn of Africa and the Great Lakes.

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Russia-Ukraine crisis highlights Africa’s need to diversify its wheat sources

by Mandira Bagwandeen, Noncedo Vutula

Down To Earth | April 14, 2022

The war between Russia and Ukraine has highlighted just how much of the world’s wheat supply relies on these two countries. For instance, a recently released UN report shows a sample of 25 African countries that rely on wheat imports from Russia or Ukraine. Of this group, 21 import most of their wheat from Russia.

Between 2018 and 2020, Africa imported $3.7 billion in wheat (32 per cent of the continent’s total wheat imports) from Russia and another $1.4 billion from Ukraine (12 per cent of the continent’s wheat imports).

It’s crucial that African countries diversify their wheat sources for two key reasons.

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FOOD SECURITY IN AFRICA 

Sub-Saharan Africa’s food security has turned out better than feared. But risks remain

Wandile Sihlobo

Down To Earth | May 04, 2021

When the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic hit, concern immediately arose that sub-Saharan Africa faced a potential worsening in food insecurity. The concerns were due to the anticipated slowdown in economic activity, job losses accompanied by loss of income, and a ban on grain exports by major exporting countries, including India, Russia, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Sub-Saharan Africa is a net importer of food.

The bans, along with other pandemic-related disruptions to food supply chains, were expected to add to food security challenges in the region. The World Bank was among the first multilateral institutions to sound the alarm. The bank estimated that an additional 26 million people would fall into extreme poverty, defined as those living under $1.90 per day, in 2020.Read More »

SUFFERING OF THE NIGERIAN PEOPLE 

A third of Nigerians are unemployed: Here’s why

Ndubisi Nwokoma

Down To Earth | April 29, 2021

The Nigerian Bureau of Statistics recently published the country’s unemployment rate for the fourth quarter of 2020, reflecting a continued deterioration during the COVID-19 year. The unemployment rate for this period stood at 33.3 per cent. Ogechi Ekeanyanwu, from The Conversation Africa, asked Ndubisi Nwokoma, an economics professor, to provide the context. 

How is unemployment measured?

Unemployment is when people are ready, able and willing to work, but do not find work. By the International Labour Organisation definition, a person is employed when they work at least 40 hours a week. The working age is regarded as between 15 and 60. Currently, 33.3 per cent or 23.2 million of the about 70 million people who should be working in Nigeria are out of work. An acceptable level of unemployment would be 4 per cent-6 per cent.Read More »

SUDANESE REVOLUTION 

Where Does The Sudanese Revolution Stand Today?

Peoples Dispatch | February 03, 2021

Dr. Fathi Elfad of the Sudanese Communist Party talks about the current stage of the Sudanese Revolution and its betrayal by certain sections of the erstwhile opposition. In the first part of an interview with Peoples Dispatch, he explains the chronology of the coming together of the opposition, certain compromises and deals made by some sections and what the upcoming cabinet reshuffle and formation of the legislative council imply.

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EXTREME WEATHER IN AFRICA 

Five African Countries Among Top 10 Affected by Extreme Weather in 2019: Germanwatch

Kiran Pandey

Down To Earth | January 25, 2021

The devastation caused by Cyclone Idai in the Chimanimani mountains on the border between Mozambique and Zimbabwe. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The devastation caused by Cyclone Idai in the Chimanimani mountains on the border between Mozambique and Zimbabwe. Photo: Wikimedia Commons The devastation caused by Cyclone Idai in the Chimanimani mountains on the border between Mozambique and Zimbabwe. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Five African countries were among the global top 10 to suffer extreme weather in 2019, the Climate Risk Index 2021, released by environmental think tank Germanwatch said January 25, 2021.

The index also ranked India as the country that suffered the second-highest monetary loss due to climate change in 2019 after Japan. The index was released ahead of the climate adaption summit that began virtually January 25 and is hosted by the Netherlands.

It also showed that eight out of the ten countries most affected by extreme weather events in 2019 belong to the category of low to lower-middle income. Five of them fall into the category of Least Developed Countries.Read More »

HUNGER AND WAR IN YEMEN

More than Half of Yemeni Population Likely to Face Acute Food Insecurity by Mid-2021: UN Agencies

 Peoples Dispatch | December 04, 2020

Food insecurity in Yemen Un report

More than half of Yemen’s population is on the verge of starvation and likely to face acute food insecurity by mid-2021 if urgent steps are not taken by the world community to end the war in the country and provide humanitarian relief. This was revealed by a new report jointly released by the World Food Programme, UNICEF, and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on Thursday, December 3.Read More »