US Allocates $51M in Humanitarian Aid to Sahel Region

Responding to the humanitarian needs in the Sahel region, United States of America today has announced that it is providing an additional $51 million in humanitarian aidto the people of the drought-hit region.

In his remarks in Washington DC, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says the Sahel is one of the poorest regions of the world, and is experiencing a complex crisis of drought, flooding, failed harvests, and disrupted livelihoods, all of which are exacerbated by the conflict in Mali.

Addressing food insecurity in the region

US support is addressing food insecurity across the entire Sahel region and the protection and assistance needs of refugees and internally displaced persons.

According to Secretary Kerry, an estimated 18.7 million people in the Sahel were at risk of food insecurity, including one million children at risk of severe acute malnutrition in 2012.

Children in low calorie and protein intake.

He notes since the beginning of the conflict in Mali in January 2012, nearly 450,000 Malians have been displaced internally or across borders as refugees.

“This new humanitarian assistance will assist food insecure and conflict-affected populations in Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger.” – Secretary Kerry

He emphasizes that the US government remains deeply concerned about the humanitarian crisis in the Sahel and urge others to contribute generously for humanitarian operations.

The additional aid brings US total humanitarian contribution to the region to nearly $520 million since fiscal year 2012.

15 Million People Face Food Insecurity in Sahel Region

With failed harvest and less rain in the drought-hit Sahel, 15 million people are now facing food insecurity in the region which stretches from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea, and includes countries such as Niger and Mali.

Reports say Niger is again facing a crisis of a failed harvest because last season the rains did not come.

A mass grave for children in Dadaab, Kenya. Many of them died of malnutrition during an extensive drought in East Africa, which began in July 2011.

In Mali, 3.5 million will be affected by severe food insecurity this year as insecurity displaced more than a quarter of a million people since the beginning of 2012.

In Niger, WFP has launched an emergency operation to support 3.3 million people, with a special focus on children under two.

In addition, some 35 per cent of people being assisted will receive cash.

WFP reports that over 423,000 thousand people have already received support through food-for-assets and cash-for-work programmes.

WFP estimates it needs some $450 million to help people across the region.

In addition, more than 200,000 children died of malnutrition last year and another one million are threatened by hunger and famine in the region.

UN reports that at least one million children under the age of five across Africa’s Sahel region are at risk of dying from severe famine and malnutrition due to drought.

The estimates over 220,000 vulnerable children live in Mali alone.

UNICEF appeals that it needs USD 120 million to tackle the worsening crisis.

In March 2012, UN reports that countries in the Sahel are at risk of full-scale food and nutrition crisis.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said that at least 15 million people are estimated to be at risk of food insecurity in Sahel region, including 5.4 million people in Niger, three million in Mali, 1.7 million in Burkina Faso and 3.6 million in Chad, as well as hundreds of thousands in Senegal, the Gambia, and Mauritania.

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.

The Sahel belt of Africa stretches from Senegal to Eritrea.

Violence in Mali Undermines Stability of The Sahel Region

With the rise of extremism engulfing Mali, US said chaos and violence in Mali does threaten to undermine the stability of the entire region of Sahel.

There is an apparent danger posed by violent extremists imposing their brutal ideology, committing human rights abuses, destroying irreplaceable cultural heritage in Mali.

It’s not only the violent extremists, drug traffickers and arms smugglers are also finding safe havens and porous borders, providing them a launching pad to extend their reach throughout not only the region, but beyond.

The violence in Mali has displaced nearly 500,000 people from their homes, and 4.5 million more are suffering from dwindling food supplies.

The United States has already provided more than $378 million to meet the escalating humanitarian needs in the Sahel.

The outbreak of conflict in northern Mali was caused by clashes between Government forces and Tuareg rebels.

Tuareg rebels launched a new rebellion in the north on 17th of January. Since then, troops have clashed with rebels in several northern towns.

Tuareg nomads are present throughout the Sahel region of Africa. Both Mali and Niger have battled Tuareg uprisings in the last decade.

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.

The Sahel belt of Africa stretches from Senegal to Eritrea.

Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain English. Mina Fabulous is the pen name of Carmen Avalino, the NewsBlaze production editor. When she isn’t preparing stories for NewsBlaze writers, she writes stories, but to separate her editing and writing identities, she uses the name given by her family and friends.