Due to erratic rainfall, failed harvests, high food prices and conflict across the Sahel region, the United States of America today announced is providing an additional $120 million in emergency assistance.
US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says the United States is deeply concerned about the humanitarian emergency in the Sahel region of Africa.
Reports say around 10 million people are in need of emergency assistance particulary residents in Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger.
The United States responded urgently to current needs, including protection and assistance for refugees, and to prevent a potentially much more serious situation through the additional $120 million in emergency assistance.
“With these funds, the U.S. Government is providing nearly $200 million this fiscal year in humanitarian assistance to the Sahel region.” -Ms. Clinton
The United States is currently providing targeted humanitarian assistance that addresses acute malnutrition and hunger and builds resilienc.
The United States is also focused on long-term approaches to establish lasting food security.
The US government is making highly nutritious therapeutic food available for malnourished children, Ms. Clinton said.
In addition to providing life-saving food, the US government is working to help vulnerable families and communities buy locally-available food and services, while developing small-scale projects and infrastructure that can help build the resilience necessary to withstand future drought.
In partnership with other donors, the US has taken early action in response to early warnings.
According to Ms Clinton, the United States is targeting specific pockets of great need while working toward sustainable, longer term development.
“Together, we are saving lives, mitigating impact, and building resilience.” -Ms. Clinton
UN says vulnerable communities to hunger is in danger of repeating itself across the Sahel this year where more than one million children are at risk of severe malnutrition and 10 million people face hunger.
The Sahel has regularly been afflicted by food insecurity as drought, poor harvests and rising food prices have left the region on the brink of a humanitarian crisis.
Last year, the World Food Programme (WFP) also implemented an emergency operation for 737,000 people, including acutely malnourished children, in parts of Chad, which has also been affected by the drought afflicting the eastern Sahel region.
In addition, WFP had fed 670,000 children under the age of two and their families in drought-stricken Niger, where as many as eight million people need assistance.