Foodgrains Bank helps stave off famine in the Sahel
By Rob Horsley | Thursday, August 23, 2012
Photo by CIFOR.
WINNIPEGResponding to an ever-expanding list of international needs, the Canadian Foodgrains Bank (CFB) has pledged $9.7 million to help more than 250,000 residents of the Sahel region in West Africa.
The Sahel is a region that runs right from the Atlantic Ocean to Eritrea. The area is arid, making it prone to food shortages caused by droughts and erratic rain.
"We have an appeal on right now to invite our supporters and others to help us provide assistance," says John Longhurst, director of the resource and public engagement department at CFB.
The Canadian government recently announced it would match charitable donations made by Canadians, on a dollar-for-dollar basis, to registered charities working to provide humanitarian relief in affected areas. The period for the matching donations will run until September 30.
More than 18 million people are affected across the region. CFB's efforts are being specifically focused in the countries of Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger.
"The food that we're providing is going to hopefully get them through until fall. Of course, we hope that the rains will come, and that they will be able to harvest a good crop."
While Longhurst describes the situation in the Sahel as a crisis, and stresses the need for continued support, he also notes the successes in preventing famine thus far.
"The interventions that are being done by the world community in this area are paying off. We are keeping people from falling over the edge."
Charitable organizations will then be eligible to apply for funding from the Government of Canada from the matching donations fund to be used for both immediate relief projects, as well as long-term development programs that will help people in West Africa become better prepared to handle future food emergencies.