While the crisis is far from over, the relatively early and coordinated response by governments and aid agencies appears to have prevented a major catastrophe. According to David Gressly, Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the UN, “The response was early enough to contain most of the suffering that would have happened, deaths that would have happened without that response.”
The 2012 rainy season across the region has also been better than that of 2011, so the harvest due in October and November is likely to be an improvement on last year’s.
However, millions of people in the region still face food shortages. Even in a normal year, 250,000 children die in the Sahel region because of malnutrition.
The situation in Mali continues to be of great concern: fighting has driven hundreds of thousands of people from their homes. According to the UNCHR, military intervention in the coming months could displace 600,000 more people, leading to a major humanitarian emergency.
Floods in Niger and elsewhere have left hundreds of thousands homeless and unable to harvest their crops.
We’ve donated £400,000 to respond to this year’s crisis, working with partners in Niger, Mali, Mauritania and Chad.
Photos and video of our response: http://www.cafod.org.uk/News/Emergencies-news/West-Africa-18-million