Extra emergency aid for the Sahel
The Netherlands has pledged nearly one million euros in extra emergency aid to curb the famine threat in the Sahel region. Ben Knapen, Minister for European Affairs and International Cooperation, said today the money will go to the Red Cross to provide food aid in drought-plagued Burkina Faso and Chad.
‘Meningitis is epidemic in these countries right now and malnutrition has increased the population’s vulnerability to this often fatal disease,’ Mr Knapen said. The extra funding comes on top of the four million euros donated to UNICEF and the World Food Programme (WFP) in March for food aid in Niger and Chad.
The Sahel region never recovered from the severe drought of 2009-2010. The current drought is already causing severe malnutrition and death. International organisations are predicting a serious famine and a large-scale humanitarian crisis.
This year, in addition to the extra funding mentioned above, the Netherlands is providing a total of 139 million euros to the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund, UNICEF, the WFP and the UN refugee organisation UNHCR. These organisations may use the funds to provide relief in the Sahel region.
The Dutch government is also involved in developing more permanent solutions for the region, for instance through programmes on food security and water management in Mali and through the EU Strategy for the Sahel, which is focused on sustainable development.
Other donors are also providing emergency aid to the Sahel, including Germany (€12.2 million), Sweden (€8 million) and Finland (€5.3 million).