Published Monday, Feb. 3, 2014 | 10:12 a.m.
Updated Monday, Feb. 3, 2014 | 10:12 a.m.
DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — The United Nations is seeking $2 billion this year to combat food insecurity in Africa's Sahel region, where 1.2 million people have been forced to flee their homes because of violence.
U.N. humanitarian chief Valerie Amos announced the appeal in Rome on Monday, saying "more people than ever" were at risk of hunger.
The U.N. defines the Sahel as a nine-country region stretching from Chad to Senegal. It says 20 million people in the region are at risk of food insecurity, with 2.5 million needing "urgent lifesaving food assistance."
Besides instability in countries like Nigeria and Mali, population growth and high food prices are contributing to the problem.
According to the U.N., five million children younger than 5 in the region will suffer from malnutrition this year.