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Ireland gives €5 million in emergency funding to Sahel region

Ten million people are at risk from a growing food crisis in Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Chad, Cameroon and Nigeria.

Women wait to receive food at the (CARE) food distribution centre in Douloukou in August 2005.
Women wait to receive food at the (CARE) food distribution centre in Douloukou in August 2005.
Image: GEORGE OSODI/AP/Press Association Images

IRELAND IS TO make €5 million in emergency funding available to the Sahel region to fight the growing food crisis there.

About 10 million people in the African belt are at risk from serious food and nutrition crises.

The money will be used to support relief activities carried out by the Red Cross, UN agencies and other NGOs. It will help to provide food and emergency assistance to thousands of malnourished children and adults in Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Chad, northern Cameroon and northern Nigeria.

The UN has reported that drought, poverty, high grain prices, environmental degradation and years of underdevelopment are combining to plunge the countries into a new food and nutrition crisis.

International agencies have already requested more than US$730 million in aid. They have warned that the current emergency is one of the worst to face the region in years.

“Even in good years, many people in the Sahel have struggled to survive,” said Minister of State for Trade and Development Joe Costello ahead of a meeting with Dr Kristalina Georgieva, EU Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response.

Food and nutrition insecurity have become long-term, chronic problems and the growing level of poverty and inequality mean that there is no buffer when things go wrong.

Costello also warned against a slow response, which has been blamed for thousands of deaths in the Horn of Africa last year.

If we do not act decisively now, millions of people in the Sahel will die and a crisis will become a catastrophe.

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