Fresh funding pledges for Sahel crisis response

A house in northern Senegal, in the Sahel region. Roughly 8 million people in the region require emergency food aid in 2012. Photo by: Tobias Mandt / CC BY

More funding will go toward efforts to ease the food crisis in West Africa, thanks to the United Kingdom and the United States.

The region, also known as Sahel, is experiencing low rainfall, poor harvests, high food prices and a lack of pasture, placing 18 million people at risk of food insecurity. Of this, 8 million require emergency food aid in 2012.

On June 7, the U.S. Agency for International Development announced an additional $81 million in humanitarian aid for Sahel. This brings the total U.S. aid to the region in fiscal 2012 to $308 million.

Three days later, U.K. Secretary of State for International Development Andrew Mitchell pledged 10 million pounds ($15.5 million), which is estimated to benefit more than 1 million people in the region. This is in addition to the 10 million pounds that Britain has earlier committed to help more than 400,000 people in Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger.

Mitchell said 1.5 million children in West Africa are in danger of starvation unless the world takes action.

“Britain will not sit back while children starve to death in the Sahel,” Mitchell said in a June 10 press release. “We took a lead in tackling the food crisis in East Africa and now is the time for others in the international community to step up.”

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About the author

  • Eliza Villarino

    Eliza Villarino currently manages one of today’s leading publications on humanitarian aid, global health and international development, the weekly GDB. At Devex, she has helped grow a global newsroom, with talented journalists from major development hubs such as Washington, D.C, London and Brussels. She regularly writes about innovations in global development.