One billion dollars still required for emergencies in the Sahel

from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 04 Jul 2013

(Dakar, 4 July 2013): The UN Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Sahel, Robert Piper, launched yesterday the updated 2013 Sahel appeal. Humanitarian actors in the Sahel revised their request to $1.7 billion up from $1.6 billion to respond to the continued needs for the remainder of 2013 in Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, The Gambia and northern parts of Cameroon.

“Given the harsh environment in which they eke out a living, the people of the Sahel are surely amongst the most naturally resilient in the world. Yet changing weather patterns, high food prices, conflicts in the neighborhood and other factors are profoundly eroding families' coping strategies in this part of the world,” said Robert Piper.

Over 11.3 million people across the Sahel are estimated to be food insecure. Trend analysis in 2013 suggests that the nutritional situation remains precarious across the region. 4.9 million children under five and pregnant women and nursing mothers are at risk of acute malnutrition. People in the region are still recovering from the last year’s food and nutrition crisis. The even higher frequency of the shocks has eroded families’ capacity to cope and with high food prices, access to food remains difficult for the most vulnerable households. This worrying situation is today compounded to the Mali crisis which has resulted in displacements within Mali and in neighboring countries.

The 2013 Sahel appeal aims at providing lifesaving assistance, at addressing root causes of food insecurity and malnutrition, at strengthening resilience of populations and at responding to the needs resulting from the Mali crisis. “This year's appeal is both about managing today's urgent needs as well as buying time for some serious problems to be addressed,” the Regional Humanitarian Coordinator indicated.

So far, the humanitarian community has provided agricultural and livestock support to over 1 million people out of the 7.9 million targeted and 1.9 million people have benefitted from food assistance each month. As of June, over 368,700 children under 5 have been treated for severe acute malnutrition. Assistance has been also provided to over 175,400 Malian refugees in Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Niger as well as to 298,000 Sudanese refugees in Chad.

The food security and nutrition situation is expected to remain critical during the lean season and it is therefore vital that immediate humanitarian needs are met. To date, the Sahel crisis has received US$607 million representing 35 per cent of its US$ 1.7 billion requirements.

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