Put Sahel crisis [back] on the map, UN official says

Women look for scraps of grain to eat in Chad. The situation in Africa's Sahel is slipping from the world's attention because of the focus on Syria, according to Antonio Guterres, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. Photo by: Irina Fuhrmann / Oxfam / CC BY-NC-ND

Pressure on donors to scale up aid for countries in Africa’s Sahel region continues to build as the humanitarian situation there turns “extremely dramatic.”

Only half of the $724 million requested by the United Nations has been provided so far, according to U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres. He noted that the situation in the Sahel is slipping from the world’s attention because of the focus on Syria.

“We badly need to put this crisis on the map because its humanitarian dimension is becoming extremely, extremely dramatic,” Guterres said, as quoted byThe Associated Press.

Aid campaign group Oxfam International also highlighted the lack of sufficient funds for the Sahel crisis response and urged the United States to lead donors in stepping up their efforts to address the region’s growing needs. The United States should immediately disburse its pledged financial aid, ensure effective aid delivery, and improve coordination with other donors and organizations, Oxfam said.

Anthony Lake, the head of UNICEF, and Margaret Chan, World Health Organization’s president, are also among the latest to add their voice to calls for urgent action in Sahel.

Lake acknowledged that there is donor and misery fatigue but stressed that “by acting vigorously and properly now,” future crises can be avoided.

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About the author

  • Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.