Sahel Hunger Crisis

20 Million People in Need

Erratic weather, failed crops, soaring food prices and violence complicate relief efforts for the 20 million people who are at risk of food insecurity.

"My Daughter Returns From Far Away, a True Miracle"

Read how a family in Niger overcame food insecurity.

5 Million Children are Suffering From Acute Malnutrition

Blogs From The Sahel

Visit our "Notes From The Field" blog for first-hand accounts of the Sahel hunger crisis and learn about the immediate and long-term relief CARE is providing.

What's happening in the Sahel?

June, 2014: According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, 18.7 million people in the Sahel region faced an extreme food crisis in 2012. The worst of the crisis was averted, but the risk of its return remains. Today, 20 million people in the region are at risk of food insecurity and 2.5 million of them need immediate lifesaving food assistance. An estimated 5 million children younger than 5 will suffer from malnutrion in 2014.

The ongoing food crisis in the Sahel region has been complicated by violence in Mali, which in turn has sent refugees fleeing the conflict into neighboring countries. More than 1 million people have fled from their homes in the Sahel and are now refugees or displaced within their own countries.

Compounding existing food insecurity, the recent combination of erratic rains, failed crops, soaring food prices and regional instability has left millions of people hungry. The recurrence of this food crisis has eroded the region's resilience and coping abilities and has devastated residents of the Sahel region who already suffered from chronic poverty before. Many never recovered from the 2012 food crisis and are unable to withstand another blow to their livelihoods.

The situation is most dire and continues to deteriorate in Mali due to conflict. In Mali alone, estimates report that about 4 million people need humanitarian assistance, and 496,000 children under 5 are at risk of malnutrition. Neighboring countries such as Niger and Chad are now faced with an influx of refugees from Mali and little resources to support them. In addition to food insecurity, diseases such as cholera and measles remain a constant risk. Floods and locust infestations continue to hinder successful food production.

The late arrival of rains, the low availability of cereal stocks in households, poor harvests and the failure of markets to function properly mean that people have not been able to recover since last year's hungry season. As a result, this year's food stocks are predicted to run out early.  CARE is continuing to respond in Chad, Mali and Niger with both immediate relief and long-term solutions.

Keep learning:

Find out the latest update on our response to the crisis >

How CARE works in emergencies


In 2011 alone, CARE reached 12 million people affected by natural disasters, conflict situations and other crises.


In emergencies, CARE is among the first to arrive and the last to leave. When it comes to responding to an emergency, timing is crucial.