IRIN this week published two articles examining the humanitarian response to the Sahel food crisis, which "put an estimated 18.7 million people at risk of hunger and 1.1 million children at risk of severe malnutrition." In the first, the news service "spoke to aid agencies, donors and Sahel experts to find out where the crisis response worked better this year," noting the "situation catalyzed the largest humanitarian response the region has ever seen and it is widely agreed that this helped avert a large-scale disaster." The article discusses how early warning reports allowed donors and agencies to "respond earlier and more quickly" than they did to the Horn of Africa drought in July 2011 (10/24).
In the second article, IRIN examines "what hampered the response, and what needs to be done to improve [the] response in the future." "As early warning data came in, aid agencies and food security analysts interpreted it very differently, creating some confusion and slightly slowing down the response of donors," the news service writes, adding, "The debate 'diverted energy away from scale-up, which was the priority,' said Stephen Cockburn, West Africa advocacy adviser for NGO Oxfam" (10/25).
This article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.