Sahel 2018: Overview of Humanitarian Needs and Requirements

Post date Friday, 7 September, 2018 - 09:37
Document Type Humanitarian Appeal
Content Themes Accountability to Affected Populations, Gender, Protection, Resilience, Emergency Response, Resource Mobilization, Needs Assessment, Agriculture, Nutrition, Food Security
Sources Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)


Acute rainfall deficits last season in several regions of the Sahel, and worsening insecurity have escalated humanitarian needs.

Drought has prematurely thrust pastoralist communities into the lean season, with herders migrating earlier than usual. Growing insecurity in Mali and armed attacks in border regions with Burkina Faso and Niger have uprooted hundreds of families in recent months, adding to the devastation by the long-running conflict around the Lake Chad Basin.

Swaths of pastoral and agro-pastoral regions are suffering severe pasture and water deficits. Around 2.5 million pastoralists and agro-pastoralists are at risk of serious livelihood crisis in 2018.

Mauritania, and parts of Burkina Faso, Chad, Senegal and Mali are the worst affected in the Sahel.
Armed attacks, banditry and intercommunity conflict have increased in Mali’s central regions. In areas unaffected by conflict, chronic vulnerabilities persist. In the Lake Chad Basin, humanitarian needs will remain high in 2018 and beyond. In areas worst hit by violence, almost 500,000 children are severely acutely malnourished and 5.8 million people are struggling with high levels of food insecurity.

In 2018, 24 million people will need humanitarian assistance in the Sahel. Some 32 million people are at risk of, or struggling with food insecurity – among them 10.8 million severely food insecure – and 4.7 million children are malnourished. Over 5 million refugees, internally displaced people and returnees are grappling with the consequences of forced displacement.

Sahel countries count among the world’s most at risk of crises and disasters. Increasingly unpredictable weather patterns, frequent droughts and floods and land degradation threaten the livelihoods of highly vulnerable communities. Food insecurity and malnutrition are often high and widespread, with seasonal peaks pushing millions into crisis. In the last decade, a spike in armed conflict and violence has worsened chronic needs, uprooted entire communities and disrupted livelihoods.

To address the most urgent needs across the region, humanitarians will need US$2.7 billion in 2018. In five countries – Cameroon, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Nigeria – aid organisations and Governments have developed response plans to provide life-saving assistance and help communities rebuild livelihoods. In Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Senegal, humanitarian work plans address acute peaks, while preparing the full integration of relief response in longer-term strategies that address the structural causes of vulnerability.

Humanitarian action across the region is progressively adopting the New Way of Working. Response strategies this year are further strengthening collaboration with Governments and development actors to provide urgent relief assistance and tackle the causes of recurrent emergencies. The Sahel humanitarian response is aligned with the UN Integrated Strategy for the Sahel (UNISS) priorities, which recognise the importance of the humanitariandevelopment and security-peace nexus and enshrines a proactive crisis prevention-oriented approach. The UNISS support plan seeks to address common humanitarian/security concerns in the Sahel, particularly the Lake Chad Basin areas, northern Mali and the Liptako-Gourma region.

Only concerted and sustained efforts by all actors can bring peace, security, and development, improve human rights, uplift Sahel’s most vulnerable inhabitants from recurrent crises, and create stable conditions for communities and families to prosper.

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