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Continuing Help For The Sahel


Refugees wait in line to receive packages of food that had been air-dropped by the World Food Programme (WFP) in South Sudan.

“We remain deeply concerned about the humanitarian crisis in the Sahel."

The United States is increasing its humanitarian assistance to the Sahel region of Africa, which suffers from chronic food insecurity.


In late March, Secretary of State John Kerry announced that the United States is increasing its humanitarian assistance to the Sahel region by $51 million , bringing the total United States humanitarian contribution to the region to nearly $520 million since fiscal year 2012.

The Sahel is the belt of semi-arid land where the sands of the southern Sahara desert transition into savannas. In 2011, 18.7 million people throughout the region fell into crisis suffering from food insecurity.

The cycle of drought resulted in poor harvests and high food prices, which lead to food insecurity and malnutrition, driving the same communities into crisis year after year.

According to a United Nations World Food Programme study, it would take families in Niger three years to recover from a price shock, and that is if harvests are good for three years in a row.

To get ahead of these cycles of crisis, the United States Agency for International Development, or USAID, is doing business differently in the region to build resilience. USAID will still deliver emergency humanitarian aid, while also helping people, communities and countries build resilience to the next drought or shock through efforts that help manage risk and address underlying vulnerabilities.

“The Sahel is one of the poorest regions of the world, and is experiencing a complex crisis of drought, flooding, failed harvests, and disrupted livelihoods, all of which are exacerbated by the conflict in Mali. Our support is addressing food insecurity across the entire Sahel region and the protection and assistance needs of refugees and internally displaced persons,” said Secretary of State Kerry.

“We remain deeply concerned about the humanitarian crisis in the Sahel, and urge others to contribute generously for humanitarian operations.”
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