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Aid Agencies Warn April's Steep Increases In Grain Prices Will Affect Sahel Nations During Lean Season

“Unexpectedly sharp price rises in April for local cereals like millet, rice, and maize in parts of Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, and Chad mean many vulnerable people in the drought-hit Sahel could find it even harder to get enough to eat,” IRIN reports. “Prices are expected to keep rising until the end of August — during the lean season — but the size of recent hikes has surprised food price analysts and humanitarian aid personnel,” the news service writes (5/25). In an article detailing the situation in Senegal, the Associated Press notes, “More than one million children under five in this wide, arid swath of Africa below the Sahara are now at risk of a food shortage so severe that it threatens their lives, UNICEF estimates” (Larson, 5/27).

In another article, IRIN examines the situation in Ethiopia, writing, “Aid agencies are calling for more food assistance for areas in southern and northeastern Ethiopia where erratic rains have adversely affected the mid-February to May” crops (5/25). And AlertNet reports that UNICEF has warned that thousands of children in Chad are at risk of dying from malnutrition and has called for additional money for aid activities in the country (Batha, 5/28).