African leaders meet as continent struggles under unprecedented food crisis

African leaders meet as continent struggles under unprecedented food crisis

On Friday, the leaders of Africa gathered for a summit in Malabo in Equatorial Guinea. The agenda was stream lined – the continent is in dire need of humanitarian aid amid growing crises including food insecurity, violence, challenges due to climate change and a series of military coups that have brought civil unrest and chaos in the region.

Calls to bring aid for displaced people

The African leaders agreed upon the urgent need to mobilize aid for resolving the humanitarian situation that has surfaced leading to millions of people displaced and over 280 million suffering with food insecurity, resulting into malnutrition.

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Jihadi groups controlled areas suffer the most

The areas besieged by jihadi groups suffer the most, and any aid extended would not be accessible to these regions or at least would be with great difficulty. This is true for Djibo, town in northern Burkina Faso bordering Mali.

The jihadis make it very difficult to transport goods and aid in and out of the region and prevent people to gain access of the humanitarian support. They also allegedly cut off the water supply to people. The price is paid by residents who suffer under food and water shortage, animals are also suffering, resulting in impacted agriculture and soaring prices.

“The goods are not arriving anymore here. Animal and agricultural production is not possible because the people cannot go back to their villages,” U.N. resident and humanitarian coordinator Barbara Manzi told The Associated Press this week. “Unless (a solution) is found, it’s going to be really a tragedy for the entire group of people that are here.”

Djibo was the starting point of violence linked to al-Qaida and IS group that has killed scores of people and displaced more than 2 million people. Since November, this instability has increased with jihadis having destroyed infrastructure in country. Locals say they have now lined its perimeter with explosives, thereby blocking the city.

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Laith Alkhouri, CEO of Intelonyx Intelligence Advisory, a group that provides intelligence analysis said, “Militants resort to blockading when they see an opportunity to gain incentives in negotiating with the government and simultaneously send a message to their base that they are in control. It’s a bargaining card and a winning one.”

“As a result of Djibo’s blockade, the World Food Program has been unable to deliver food to the town since December and stocks are running out,” said Antoine Renard, country director for the World Food Program in Burkina Faso.

The people are suffering as they no wait a long wait for food, water and other essentials. They feel trapped in their own homes as the aid just cannot reach them.