One Year in Numbers - West and Central Africa: Trends to watch out for in 2021
65 million people need assistance
West and Central Africa are among the most risk-prone regions in the world. Climate change, extreme poverty, rapid population growth and insecurity are driving high levels of vulnerability. Violent conflict, forced displacement, food insecurity, malnutrition, epidemics and environmental shocks continue to devastate communities. 2020 was marked by worsening needs, deteriorating conflicts and the consequences of COVID-19. Sixty-five million people depended on humanitarian assistance — this was a record high, and 20 million more people than estimated at the beginning of 2020. One third of global humanitarian need is in West and Central Africa.
40 million people are food insecure
At the end of 2020, more than 40 million people in West and Central Africa were struggling with acute food insecurity. In the Sahel, the number of people facing a critical lack of food and livelihoods reached new record levels. If conditions deteriorate, hunger hotspots in north-east Nigeria and Burkina Faso risk slipping into famine within months. The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has the highest number of food-insecure people globally. Across the region, violence and climate shocks are the main drivers of the dramatic food crises. Where instability keeps raging and climate change is affecting production, vulnerable communities lose their livelihoods and go hungry.
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