Goudoude Diobe, Senegal -- UNICEF estimates that more than 1 million children under 5 in a wide, arid swath of Africa below the Sahara are now at risk of a food shortage so severe that it threatens their lives.
In Senegal, which is relatively stable and prosperous, malnutrition among children in the north has already surpassed 14 percent, just shy of the World Health Organization threshold for an emergency.
Hunger in this region is a lurking predator. Even in a non-crisis year, some 300,000 children die from lack of food across western and central Africa. All it takes is a drought and a failed harvest, and those who are now barely living on one meal a day will starve.
Since late 2011, aid groups have been sounding the alarm about how drought is once again devastating communities. But not enough donations have come in.
The situation is worst in Niger, Chad and Mali, where political chaos has forced hundreds of thousands to seek refuge in places where people don't have enough to eat themselves. But in a worrisome sign, this time the crisis also threatens 20,000 children in northern Senegal.