The United States is providing more than $80 million in emergency assistance to the people of the Sahel, while also working to resolve conflict in the region.
U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale announced the humanitarian aid for the countries of Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger at a March 19 International Coalition for the Sahel Ministerial event. The assistance brings critical protection, shelter, essential health care, emergency food assistance, safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene services.
“As we work to alleviate suffering, we recommit to supporting our African partners in their work to address not just the suffering, but the drivers of conflict,” Hale said.
The United Nations humanitarian chief warned in October that a mix of conflict, weak governance, underdevelopment, poverty and other factors have led to dire and worsening conditions in the Sahel.
NEWS: Today, the U.S. announced $80M+ in humanitarian assistance to respond to the crisis in the Sahel region of West Africa. This additional aid will provide food, nutrition, shelter, health care, and other critical relief to save lives. https://t.co/OU55nO2NaG pic.twitter.com/FSLkKnJfyr
— USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (@USAIDSavesLives) March 19, 2021
More than 20 million people across the five countries are in need of urgent aid and an estimated 3 million people have been displaced, according to the State Department. The number of people facing acute hunger has tripled, and schools and hospitals have closed because of violence driven by extremist groups and organized crime.
The new assistance follows nearly $152 million in U.S. aid to the region announced in September 2020.
“Economic opportunity — and basic services such as dispute resolution and local justice — can help counter the appeal of terrorist group recruitment and prevent inter-communal conflict,” Hale said.
The United States is the largest single humanitarian donor to the Sahel and the world, and the U.S. government continues to urge donors to support additional humanitarian aid to the Sahel.
The United States is also working with the International Coalition for the Sahel, formed in 2020, and other international partners to bring security, stability, development and good governance to the region.
“We support the aims of the International Coalition for the Sahel to coordinate international support for the region, from building its capacity to fight terrorism to supporting economic development,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told the G5 Sahel Summit on February 16. Formed in 2014, the G5 Sahel supports development and security in five of the Sahel countries.