Situation in Sahel and in Horn of Africa remains problematic, notes Niebel
BERLIN – The humanitarian situation in the Sahel and in the Horn of Africa remains tense in many places. In view of the current situation in the Sahel region and around Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya, German Development Minister Dirk Niebel made the following statement:
"The humanitarian crisis in the Sahel region is being exacerbated by political crisis situations in a number of countries. We are continuing our efforts to prevent the drought from turning into famine. In addition to emergency relief, we are supporting the countries in becoming more resilient to drought in the long term. We are helping them to build food reserves, to restore soil fertility and to support smallholders through training."
The Sahel region is plagued by recurring drought. Emergencies exacerbate persistent structural problems: people's resilience and production as well as supply systems are poor, even when harvests are good. Any additional external shock immediately leads to a rapid increase in malnutrition. Currently, about 18 million people are affected by food shortages. This is being exacerbated by the humanitarian emergency caused by the conflict in northern Mali. According to UN figures, more than 330,000 people have been displaced within Mali or to neighbouring countries.
The German government's commitments for short-term and preventive aid and for recovery activities in the Sahel total more than 37 million euros. Germany continues to be one of the largest bilateral donors to the World Food Programme in the Sahel crisis.
Dirk Niebel said, "The security situation around Dadaab refugee camp is becoming increasingly problematic – for the refugees themselves, for the local population, and for humanitarian aid workers. Only a political solution to the conflict in Somalia will remedy this situation on a lasting basis. My talks with Somalia's transitional government in Mogadishu in March 2012, under very precarious security conditions, focused on openings for development. In the period up to the end of the transition phase in Somalia later this year, it will be vital to provide security, stabilise livelihoods, achieve national reconciliation, complete the constitutional process and hold national parliamentary and presidential elections. Germany will provide constructive criticism and support during this process."
Minister Niebel's talks with the Somali transitional government during his visit to Mogadishu in late March focused on issues relating to the stabilisation of the country, security for the population and humanitarian organisations operating in the country, and the prerequisites for decision-making about the design of future development cooperation.