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EU Announces EUR142 Million In Humanitarian Aid To Sahel Crisis

The European Commission on Monday announced that it will give EUR142 million in humanitarian funds to the Sahel region of Africa in 2014, which is once again suffering because of a severe food and nutrition crisis. In addition, many people in Mali are in need of humanitarian aid as a result of the situation in the North.

In 2014, severe acute malnutrition rates continue to surpass emergency thresholds in many regions of Chad, Niger, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Mali, Senegal and Nigeria. The lean season, the difficult months between two harvests when food and resources become scarce, has started early for many in the Sahel. One and a half million children are at high risk of severe malnutrition this year, the Commission estimates.

Kristalina Georgieva, EU Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, said nearly three million Sahelians require urgent food assistance, including more than 800,000 people in the North of Mali, while twenty million people in the region suffer from food insecurity. "We need to act quickly if we are to get vital aid to the most vulnerable people who continue their struggle to survive as a result of food insecurity, natural disasters and conflict," she added.

The EU funding will provide EUR57 million in emergency relief for people affected by the overall Sahel food and nutrition crisis, EUR28 million to assist victims of the Mali crisis, and EUR7.5 million for the food crisis situation in Nigeria, where the North is experiencing the most challenging situation. EUR29.5 million will be given to Chad, which is in a complex crisis with an increasing number of refugees; and EUR2 million for North Cameroon. An additional EUR18 million is planned in EU development funding to provide relief and rehabilitation assistance to build resilience in northern Mali.

This funding will prioritize life-saving nutrition care for children and mothers and provide food assistance, access to basic health services and clean water for the most vulnerable people. It will also ensure that hundreds of thousands of refugees and internally displaced people in West African countries continue to receive vital aid, the Commission said.

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