OTTAWA - Canada is being implored to push the international community to do more to help fight a looming famine in West Africa's Sahel belt.

Canada already announced $41 million in February to assist in the food crisis that is threatening 15 million people with malnutrition in a seven-country belt of Africa that stretches from Senegal to Chad.

Complicating matters is the coup last month in Mali, where rebel fighters deposed civilian leadership.

The United Nations made an emergency appeal late last year for $700 million, but has received roughly half of that so far.

Robert Fox, the head of Oxfam Canada, says Canada's recent contribution is commendable even though last month's federal budget slashed future aid spending by 7.5 per cent, or about $380 million.

Fox says Canada can still work on pressuring allies to contribute more to the crisis, even though its overall aid spending is headed in the wrong direction.