Humanitarian Assistance to Sahel Region

Press Statement
Hillary Rodham Clinton

Secretary of State

Washington, DC

March 29, 2012


The United States is deeply concerned about the humanitarian emergency in the Sahel region of Africa. Around 10 million people are in need of emergency assistance due to erratic rainfall, failed harvests, high food prices and conflict across the region that includes Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger. In response to current needs, including protection and assistance for refugees, and to prevent a potentially much more serious situation, I am pleased to announce that the United States is providing an additional $120 million in emergency assistance. With these funds, the U.S. Government is providing nearly $200 million this fiscal year in humanitarian assistance to the Sahel region.

We are currently providing targeted humanitarian assistance that addresses acute malnutrition and hunger and builds resilience, and we are also focused on long-term approaches to establish lasting food security. We are making highly nutritious therapeutic food available for malnourished children. In addition to providing life-saving food, we are working to help vulnerable families and communities buy locally-available food and services, while developing small-scale projects and infrastructure that can help build the resilience necessary to withstand future drought.

In partnership with other donors, we have taken early action in response to early warnings. We are targeting specific pockets of great need while working toward sustainable, longer term development. Together, we are saving lives, mitigating impact, and building resilience.

By: Elisabeth Kvitashvili U.S. Alternate Permanent Representative to the United Nations Agencies in Rome, Italy, and Humanitarian Affairs Counselor for the U.S. Agency for International Development

Hunger is a chronic problem in both Chad and Niger, two of the world’s poorest countries. With large nomadic populations whose livelihood depends on their herds of camels and cattle, both countries have suffered severely from droughts. Chronic malnutrition threatens tens of thousands of children who lack access to clean water, preventative health care. and sufficient quantities of nutrient rich foods. The droughts have devastated livelihoods of both farmers and pastoralists in the Sahel, an arid and semi-arid region, sweeping through both countries that is chronically food insecure. On a recent field visit to the two countries where I was accompanied by Cristina Amaral, Africa Director of the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) Emergency Response Unit and Africa-based representatives of USAID’s Office of Food for Peace, I witnessed the efforts of FAO and the World Food Program (WFP), both of whom receive valuable financial support from USAID, in tackling the impacts of the drought on the most vulnerable populations. In addition to supporting the recovery of drought-affected households, both organizations are now using their resources in a more preventative fashion — in order to get at the root causes of the high levels of malnutrition in a more integrated fashion…