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May 11, 2012

Food and nutrition crisis in Sahel region of Africa

A potentially catastrophic food crisis in the Sahel region of West and Central Africa could affect as many as one million children. The food and nutrition crisis resulting from a severe drought, threatens the survival of an entire generation of children. Those children in eight countries - Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger, Cameroon, Nigeria and Senegal - are at risk of severe acute malnutrition. Sparse rainfall, poor harvests and rising food prices have left many vulnerable and weak, seeking medical attention. Sahel is one of the poorest regions in the world where children already face daunting odds of survival. The current crisis makes their survival even more tenuous. Associated Press photographer, Ben Curtis, documented the conditions in the region. -- Paula Nelson (EDITORS NOTE: We will not be posting Monday, May 14) (32 photos total)

A woman carries her child amidst dusty winds in the desert near Mondo, a village in the Sahel belt of Chad, April 19, 2012. UNICEF estimates that 127,000 children under the age of 5 in Chad's Sahel belt will require lifesaving treatment for severe acute malnutrition this year, with an estimated 1 million expected throughout the wider Sahel region of West and Central Africa in the countries of Niger, Nigeria, Mali, Chad, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Senegal and Mauritania. (Ben Curtis/Associated Press)

A donkey lies partially covered by the wind-swept sand in an area of desert where villagers take dead animals to avoid the smell and potential for the spread of disease, near the village of Dala in the Sahel belt of Chad. Mothers with hungry and malnourished children are flocking to feeding sites and clinics in the Chadian desert by any means they can and where it is sometimes too late to save their babies' lives. Health and U.N. officials warn that more children will die if international humanitarian assistance is not increased. (Ben Curtis/Associated Press) #

Mother Fatime Abd Rahmane, 22, and her daughter Kaltouma Abdoulaye, 23 months old, recovering from severe malnutrition in the intensive care tent of a clinic in Mondo, April 19, 2012. UNICEF says the current food and nutrition crisis stems from scarce rainfalls in 2011, which caused poor harvests and livestock production, though the situation in Chad has also been exacerbated by an influx of Chadians returning from Libya as a result of the conflict there. (Ben Curtis/Associated Press) #

Zara Mahamat, suffering from malnutrition, diarrhea and fever, receives treatment through a nasal feeding tube accompanied by her mother, in an intensive care tent at the hospital in N'Gouri, a desert village in the Sahel belt of Chad. Mothers with hungry and malnourished children are flocking to feeding sites and clinics in the Chadian desert by any means they can. It is sometimes too late to save their babies' lives, however. Health and U.N. officials warn that more children will die if international humanitarian assistance is not increased. (Ben Curtis/Associated Press) #

Mothers wait for their children to be examined for signs of malnutrition at a walk-in nutrition clinic in Barrah, a desert village in the Sahel belt of Chad, April 20, 2012. (Ben Curtis/Associated Press) #

Mother Hadetta Mohammed holds her son Omar Lamine, 2, as she waits for him to be examined for signs of malnutrition at a walk-in nutrition clinic in Barrah, April 20, 2012. UNICEF estimates that 127,000 children under age five in Chad's Sahel belt will require lifesaving treatment for severe acute malnutrition this year. (Ben Curtis/Associated Press) #

Halime Moussa, 3, receives treatment via a nasal feeding tube. His hands are bandaged to prevent him from removing the tube. He is being treated at the therapeutic nutrition ward of the town's hospital. His mother, Kaltouma Abakar, travelled 70km to reach the center, in Mao, capital of the Kanem region of Chad. (Ben Curtis/Associated Press) #

Kouboura Ali, 8 months old, who is unable to accept food orally due to a malnutrition-related illness, cries out as she receives an injection of an antibiotic by a doctor in the intensive care tent at the hospital in N'Gouri. (Ben Curtis/Associated Press) #

Mother Ashta Abdoulaye, 20, holds her two year-old son, Moussa Ali, receives treatment for severe malnutrition through a nasal feeding tube, April 19, 2012. (Ben Curtis/Associated Press) #

Mother Hereta Moussa, 20, rests her hand on the leg of her son Mahamat Choukou, 7 months, as he receives treatment for a malnutrition-related lung infection at the therapeutic nutrition ward of the hospital in Mao, capital of the Kanem region of Chad, April 17, 2012. (Ben Curtis/Associated Press) #

A child's arm circumference is measured to check her growth, at a walk-in feeding center in Mao, April 17, 2012. (Ben Curtis/Associated Press) #

A child is weighed as other mothers and children wait their turn, at a walk-in feeding center in Mao, April 17, 2012. (Ben Curtis/Associated Press) #

Halime Moussa, 3, receives treatment via a nasal feeding tube, his hands bandaged to prevent him from removing the tube, at the therapeutic nutrition ward of the town's hospital, April 17, 2012. (Ben Curtis/Associated Press) #

Chadian men and boys use a donkey to pull up water, (the quality of which is only suitable for animals to drink) from a well which took twenty men a week to dig by hand, in a wadi near Tchyllah, a desert village in the Sahel belt of Chad, April 19, 2012. (Ben Curtis/Associated Press) #

Hissaeni Abdoulaye, 46, waits as his animals drink water from a well that took twenty men a week to dig by hand, in a wadi near Tchyllah, a desert village in the Sahel belt of Chad, April 19, 2012. (Ben Curtis/Associated Press) #

A woman casts millet grain for sale into a basket next to a walk-in feeding center in Mao, capital of the Kanem region of Chad. Mothers with hungry and malnourished children are flocking to feeding sites and clinics in the Chadian desert by any means they can. (Ben Curtis/Associated Press) #

Hawa Abdullah, 2, weighing 5.4 kg, sits in the lap of his grandmother who now takes care of him after his mother (who lives in Darfur) was forced to send him for medical treatment while she was pregnant with another child and unable to make the long journey.(Ben Curtis/Associated Press) #

A woman arrives with her child at a walk-in feeding center in Mao, capital of the Kanem region of Chad, April 17, 2012. (Ben Curtis/Associated Press) #

A mother and her child walk to get water, pumped by hand from a well in Mondo, April 19, 2012. UNICEF estimates that 127,000 children under 5 years of age, in Chad's Sahel belt will require lifesaving treatment for severe acute malnutrition this year. (Ben Curtis/Associated Press) #

Nezile Moussa, 2, receives treatment as he lies in the lap of his mother Kouboura Adoum, at the therapeutic nutrition ward of the hospital in Mao, April 17, 2012. (Ben Curtis/Associated Press) #

Nezile Moussa, 2, receives treatment at the therapeutic nutrition ward of the hospital in Mao, capital of the Kanem region of Chad, April 17, 2012. He is one of an estimated 127,000 children under 5 years of age that require lifesaving treatment for severe acute malnutrition. (Ben Curtis/Associated Press) #

Mother Kouboura Adoum, and child, Nexile Moussa, 2, at the therapeutic nutrition ward of the hospital in Mao, April 17, 2012. (Ben Curtis/Associated Press) #

Mother Fatime fans her daughter, Kouboura Ali, 8 months old, who is unable to accept food orally due to a malnutrition-related illness, in the stifling heat of an intensive care tent at the hospital in N'Gouri, April 18, 2012. (Ben Curtis/Associated Press) #

Kouboura Ali, 8 months old, unable to accept food orally due to a malnutrition-related illness, is one of an estimated127,000 children under 5 years of age in Chad's Sahel belt that requires lifesaving treatment. (Ben Curtis/Associated Press) #

Halime Ali, 13 months old, lies in the plastic bucket of a weighing scale while being checked for signs of malnutrition at a walk-in feeding center in Dibinindji, a desert village in the Sahel belt of Chad, April 18, 2012. (Ben Curtis/Associated Press) #

Hawa Moussa, 2, who is suffering from malnutrition, is held by her mother in N'Gouri, April 18, 2012. (Ben Curtis/Associated Press) #

A woman prepares her shawl as her baby lies on the ground. She arrived by donkey to have the baby examined for signs of malnutrition at a walk-in feeding center in Dibinindji, a desert village in the Sahel belt of Chad, April 18, 2012. (Ben Curtis/Associated Press) #

A woman carries washed clothes away after allowing them to dry on a brush fence in Mondo, a desert village in the Sahel belt of Chad, April 19, 2012. (Ben Curtis/Associated Press) #

Women wait patiently to have their babies examined for signs of malnutrition, April 18, 2012. (Ben Curtis/Associated Press) #

Two Chadian boys sit on the sand together in Tchyllah, a desert village in the Sahel belt of Chad, April 19, 2012. (Ben Curtis/Associated Press) #

A donkey carcass lies in an area of desert near the village of Dala in the Sahel belt of Chad, April 20, 2012. Scarce rainfalls in 2011 caused poor harvests, livestock production and all suffered from drought conditions. (Ben Curtis/Associated Press) #

A woman rides a donkey over sand-dunes in Dibinindji, a desert village in the Sahel belt of Chad, April 18, 2012. (Ben Curtis/Associated Press) #



 
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