Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for Sahel David Gressly takes charges

from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 17 Apr 2012

(Dakar, 17 April 2012). –David Gressly took charges today in Dakar as Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Sahel region. David Gressly was appointed by Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos for a period of six months.

The new severe food and nutrition crisis affecting the Sahel region, compounded by the impact and spillover effects of the complex emergency in Mali, require a regionally coherent and effectively prioritized humanitarian response.

Around 15.6 million people over nine countries – Senegal, the Gambia, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad as well as northern parts of Nigeria and Cameroon are already affected by food insecurity. Over one million children are threatened with severe acute malnutrition and approximately 1.9 million children under five years are expected to suffer from moderate acute malnutrition. Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and the Gambia have declared a crisis and called for international assistance. The armed conflict in Mali has provoked the displacement of over 270,000 people, including 163,000 refugees in Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Niger and Algeria.

A Strategy for the Sahel was release on 15 December 2011 to prevent and mitigate a food and nutrition crisis in the Sahel. An updated version entitled “Response to the food and nutrition crisis in the Sahel and neighboring countries” was released in February that provides detailed data on needs by country, for a total of US$725 million, including $481 million for food security activities and $243.6 million for nutrition projects. As of 15 April, only 50 percent of the requested funding has been provided, including 19 percent of the funding requested for nutrition and 12 percent of the funding for agriculture.

‘People in the Sahel are facing multiple crises,’ says David Gressly. ‘This makes getting the right relief to the right places difficult and complex but it can be done and must be done. Our aim is to prevent death and help communities to help themselves. To do that best we need money and the sooner it comes the better able we are to use it effectively to achieve results. ’

David Gressly’s responsibilities include the coordination of the humanitarian response to the Sahel crisis at the regional level as well as providing support and advice to the UN Resident Coordinators and Humanitarian Coordinators at the country level. He will ensure coherence across the region and coordination and cooperation with development actors to reinforce the resilience of the affected people and bridge the gap between the emergency humanitarian response and longer-term development activities. The Regional Humanitarian Coordinator will also have an advocacy role to mobilize funding.

Prior to this appointment, David Gressly was the UNICEF Regional Director in West and Central Africa. He also served as UN Regional Coordinator for Southern Sudan for the UN peacekeeping mission from 2008 to 2011. David Gressly also served as Deputy Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator responsible for Southern Sudan from 2004 to 2008. In addition, Mr. Gressly has been UNICEF Deputy Representative in India, Representative in Guinea, Regional Operations Officer for West Africa and Operations Officer in Nigeria.

For further information, please contact:
Dakar (ROWCA): Rémi Dourlot, +221 77 569 9653 ; or Angelita DIOP, +221 77 450 6181

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