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Food aid programme ending

A food aid programme supported by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in the Sahelian countries is coming to a close after helping tens of thousands of people survive in the lean period between harvests, a Federation report said. In the report, received by IRIN today, the Federation said 130,000 food rations had been distributed to children and other vulnerable groups by national Red Cross societies in Burkina Faso, Chad, Cape Verde, The Gambia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal, where each year food shortages are at the root of outbreaks of disease, malnutrition and migration to urban centres. Relief activities did not take place in Nigeria, where effects of the drought were less drastic than anticipated, it said. Chronically poor harvests in the Sahelian belt were made worse in 1998 by the El Nino phenomenon, affecting an estimated three million people, it said. The 10-month Red Cross programme, which included health and nutrition education activities, reduced suffering and averted further migration in the target communities. It also highlighted the need to develop a regional approach to food insecurity by reinforcing community coping mechanisms and reducing dependence on external assistance, the report said.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information:

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