Twelve million people across five West African countries teeter on the brink of famine. Drought, crop failure, inadequate recovery from previous crises, and rising food prices have propelled the governments of Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Chad and Niger to declare states of emergency and call for international assistance.

This is the opening paragraph to an ACT Alliance story from Feb 20th. The story is an interview with Paul Valentin, director of Christian Aid, who was in Burkina Faso. Over all it is an solid piece, giving an overview of the growing crisis in the region and for this reason alone it is worth a listen.

Beyond this though, Paul has some important things towards the middle of the interview of the connection between response and media portrayal of need. Boiled down it’s a look at how we must learn better how to communicate need before pictures of starving people and animals are on the news. This is the heart of disaster risk reduction and prevention, a growing component of ELCA Disaster Response work.

The interview is just over 16 minutes long and I would highly recommend giving it a listen.

Listen to ACT eyewitness account in Sahel.