The European Commission is doubling its humanitarian aid to the African Sahel region to EUR 95 million in response to the food crisis. The announcement was made by Kristalina Georgieva, the European Union's crisis response commissioner, during her ongoing visit to Niger and Chad.
'This crisis will bite from next month onward and we are now in a race against time,' Commissioner Georgieva warned. 'I am determined to ensure that the European Commission will mobilise EUR 250 million to cover food assistance and longer term food security in the Sahel. We are already doing a lot, but this crisis needs an even greater response. I appeal to everyone, the international community and the governments in the region, to do all they can to assist,' she added.
Commissioner Georgieva continues her four-day visit to Niger and Chad, two of the five Sahel countries (the others being Burkina Faso, Mali and Mauritania) most at risk of major food shortages over the coming months.
Approximately 22.9 million people in the region are beginning 2012 with huge uncertainty about how they will feed themselves and their families. A conservative estimate of needs based on the current scale of the crisis is EUR 500 million. This would help over 7 million people to bridge the six-month crisis peak.