The definition of a famine is very precise and the experience of Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in this area can provide some context. The term famine can be used when the following criteria are met: the mortality rate exceeds two deaths per 10,000 people per day; acute malnutrition exceeds 30 percent; and one person in every five is not getting enough to eat.
A food crisis is affecting an estimated 18 million people across Africa's Sahel region right now, including in Niger, where four million children are projected to suffer from acute malnutrition, with at least one million at risk of developing severe acute malnutrition. At the same time, 80 percent of children who come to Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) clinics in Niger test positive for malaria. MSF is trying to reach those who need help the most.