It is a complex region hit by chronic hunger, insecurity, climate change, the threats of a Desert Locust outbreak, and now the pandemic. Year after year, five out of the ten countries at the bottom of the UN Development Index are in West Africa.
Right now, there is particularly concerned about the humanitarian crisis in Central Sahel - comprised of Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger. Some four million people here are already facing extreme hunger and this could rise to 5.5 million people by August. Just to put it in perspective - by August, in Burkina Faso, over two million people could be facing extreme hunger, and at the worst time - as the lean season sets in and food becomes scarcer. This number is three times higher than last year during the same period.
The pandemic - if it spreads further - will translate into increasing threats: from more displacements to less and less access to basic social services, higher food prices, less food. Transport is also already affected, which will impact on food and products' supply.
As the world waits desperately for a vaccine for the COVID-19 over 13 million children below the age of one globally did not receive any vaccines at all in 2018, many of whom live in countries with weak health systems. Millions of children are in danger of missing life-saving vaccines against measles, diphtheria and polio due to disruptions in immunization services.