UN says 6 million struggling to get food in Africa’s Sahel

The U.N. humanitarian chief is warning that nearly 6 million people are struggling to get food in West Africa’s Sahel region and severe malnutrition is threatening the lives of 1.6 million children.

Mark Lowcock said in a statement Tuesday that these levels haven’t been seen since a crisis in 2012, “and the most critical months are still ahead.”

He says the rapid deterioration in recent months in Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal “reveals an urgent need for more donor support.”

Lowcock says U.N. appeals are only 26 percent funded and he urges donors to increase support, saying “we can still avert the worst.”

He says the current crisis was triggered by scarce and erratic rainfall in 2017, “resulting in water, crop and pasture shortages and livestock losses.”