From Senegal in the west to Eritrea in the east, people are on the brink of a major disaster. Norway is therefore providing NOK 50 million to help those affected by the drought and ensuing food crisis.
In the 12 countries that stretch across Africa – the Sahel – there is a lack of both food and water. Less rainfall in 2011 has led to lower crop yields, a lack of food and higher prices on the food that is available.
- The situation is serious. It is therefore vital that the world responds quickly. We must help all those affected if we are to avoid a new famine in the region. Many of the victims are still recovering from the drought in 2010, said Minister of the Environment and International Development Erik Solheim.
According to United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), as many as one million children under the age of five are suffering from malnutrition and hunger. Niger, Mali and Chad are among the countries that are particularly vulnerable. The years 2005 to 2010 saw a period of almost continuous drought in the region. This has severely weakened people’s ability to withstand more drought.
- We are following developments closely and will assess needs and consider allocating additional funds on an ongoing basis, said Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre.
The UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) has already provided NOK 55 million to alleviate the food crisis in the region. Of this NOK 8 million comes from Norway. Norway’s contribution is thus in total NOK 58 million.
The money will go directly towards food relief, nutrition programmes and medical help for children, pregnant women and others who are particularly vulnerable to drought. Part of the funds will be used for preventive measures. The funding will be divided between the UN, the Red Cross, and other NGOs.