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Millions face hunger in arid belt of Africa

May 28, 2010

Full article at Associated Press

At this time of year, the Gadabeji Reserve should be refuge for the nomadic tribes who travel across a moonscape on the edge of the Sahara to graze their cattle. But the grass is meager after a drought killed off the last year’s crops. Now the cattle are too weak to stand and too skinny to sell, leaving the poor without any way to buy grain to feed their families.

The threat of famine is again stalking the Sahel, a band of semiarid land stretching across Africa south of the Sahara. The U.N. World Food Program warned on Friday that some 10 million people face hunger over the next three months before the next harvest in September — if it comes.

“People have lost crops, livestock, and the ability to cope on their own, and the levels of malnutrition among women and children have already risen to very high levels,” said Thomas Yanga, WFP Regional Director for West Africa.

The U.N.’s humanitarian chief, John Holmes, said at the end of a four-day visit to neighboring Chad that many Chadians have gone as far as Libya to search for food.

“The level of malnutrition is already beyond the danger point,” Holmes said Thursday. “If we do not act now or as quickly as possible, there is a chance the food crisis will become a disaster.”

Some have crossed into Nigeria, begging for food on the streets of the northern city of Katsina. Others remain behind with their cattle, knowing the livestock would die on a long trip south that could end with Nigerian police simply turning them back. Instead, they wait for rains that might not come.

Full article at Associated Press

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One Comment leave one →
  1. June 5, 2010 5:51 am

    What an awful way to live.

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