As countries in the Sahel continue to suffer from armed conflicts, climate change, and a food and nutritional crisis, the EU will provide €152.05 million to bring relief to people in need in the region. Combined with last year's funding, humanitarian assistance to the Sahel has been supported with over €423 million in EU aid, making the EU a leading donor in the region.
The Sahel region is marked by extreme vulnerability and poverty. Regional and inter-community armed conflicts trigger mass displacements of people. Violence makes it impossible for people to access their fields or go to markets and also disrupts the functioning and access to basic social services. At the same time, a succession of droughts have stifled communities' ability to recover from food shortages. More than 4 million people in the region are in forced displacement, while more than 10 million people are estimated to be in need of emergency food assistance in 2019.
Christos Stylianides, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis management, said, “The EU's vital work in the Sahel continues to help the most vulnerable, in one of the poorest and most fragile regions in the world, where humanitarian needs are worryingly on the rise. Our new aid package will provide food assistance, emergency health care, clean water, shelter, protection and education for children. To ensure aid saves lives, it is essential that humanitarian workers have full access to do their job."
EU funding from this aid package provides humanitarian assistance in the following seven countries: Burkina Faso (€15.7 million), Cameroon (€17.8 million), Chad (€27.2 million), Mali (23.55 million), Mauritania (€11.15 million), Niger (€23.15 million) and Nigeria (€28 million). An additional €5.5 million is allocated to a regional project that fights malnutrition in Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger.
How EU aid helps
Food security: Lack of sufficient rainfall, scarce vegetation, and high food prices persist in some areas of the Sahel. EU humanitarian aid continues to go towards giving food assistance, healthcare and water to vulnerable households, especially in the most critical months of the year in-between harvests, where food reserves are severely depleted.
Healthcare: In a region where nearly 3 million children under the age of five are at risk of severe acute malnutrition, another priority of EU humanitarian support is the prevention and treatment of this life-threatening condition. EU funding also helps awareness-raising about early diagnosis, support to the health system, and the supply of therapeutic foods and essential medicines for undernourished children.
Preparedness: EU support also strengthens communities' preparedness and quick response in risk-prone areas, especially as concerns food crises, people displacement, natural disasters and epidemics. By linking humanitarian and development support, the EU is also contributing to measures aimed at building long-term community resilience.