Tuesday, July 28, 2009

FEWS Maps and the hunger season

Nationwide, almost one million people in Niger were considered to be living in “severe food insecurity” with another 1.9 million in “moderate food insecurity”, based on the government’s 2008-2009 assistance plan... In 2008, 39.3 percent of the population was estimated to be chronically malnourished, according to the government. (Source: IRIN News)

It's that time again: hunger season in the Sahel. The maps below indicate food security for the second quarter of 2009, in countries monitored by the USAID/USGS FEWS NETprogram. The Famine Early Warning Systems Network, set up in response to the starvation of close to 1 million Africans in 1985, attempts to analyze and predict climate conditions and food security in 17 sub-Saharan countries, as well as Afghanistan and a handful of countries in central America.

The most vulnerable time will appear on their next set of maps, due soon. "Hunger season" is that time when food supplies have run out and the new season's crops are not ready to harvest, and it can represent the slow onset of famine.

Green: Generally Food Secure
Yellow: Moderately Food Insecure
Orange Highly Food Insecure
Red: Extremely Food Insecure
Black: Famine
Gray: No Data

Faloa lies on the edge between green and yellow. As we approach August, the yellow and orange areas are likely to expand; green areas will shrink.

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