Massive West Africa hunger in 2012

2012-05-29 22:38

Geneva - UN officials say they expect 18 million people in West Africa will go hungry this year, including three million young children whose lives or health will be at risk.

W David Gressly, the UN's regional humanitarian co-ordinator for nine countries in the arid Sahel region of Africa, says during 2012 the lives of at least 1 million children under 5 will be threatened and another 2 million under 5 will suffer health problems due to malnutrition.

Gressly told reporters on Tuesday in Geneva the third such hunger crisis in the Sahel since 2005 is made worse because people have not had time to recover from the two "previous shocks" caused by drought and failed harvests.

He and other UN officials said political instability in some areas adds to the problem.

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