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German government steps up humanitarian assistance for Sahel zone

07.02.2012 - Press release

The Federal Foreign Office and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development are making 12 million euros available to fund emergency assistance for the people affected by the drought in the Sahel zone.

The Federal Foreign Office and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development are making 12 million euros available to fund emergency assistance for the people affected by the drought in the Sahel zone. A large part of the funds is to go to the World Food Programme, to be used for its emergency food aid in the Sahel countries. Part of the commitment is earmarked for German non-governmental organisations operating in the region and for the International Committee of the Red Cross.

In a statement made today, Dirk Niebel, Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, said:

“We do not abandon people in their time of need. Germany is a reliable partner in the international response to crises. We have pledged our assistance at an early stage and will offer whatever support is most beneficial for the people who are starving. I was in an area affected by famine just recently and no one can remain unmoved in the face of such suffering.”

Markus Löning, the German government’s Commissioner for Humanitarian Assistance, said today (7 Feb.):

“The hungry people in the Sahel zone need our support. We want, with the 12 million euros we have just committed for emergency relief measures, to close acute supply gaps.
However, strengthening the ability of the people and authorities in the region to help themselves is also important. I therefore call on those in charge to speed up cross-border deliveries of food. And I also ask all the people in Germany to respond to the call for donations to help these people in their need.”

In the past few weeks a new food crisis has been emerging across the whole of the Sahel zone. Irregular rainfall, failed harvests and rising food prices are increasingly reducing the food available for large sections of the population. ECHO, the EU’s Office for Humanitarian Aid, estimates that the number of people experiencing hunger is over 11 million. All the countries affected by the famine have asked for international assistance.

In view of the tense situation in the Sahel zone, the German government’s newly set-up Sahel Task Force will meet for the first time this Friday (10 Feb.). In addition to coordinating the humanitarian support measures, the task force is also responsible for inter-ministerial consultation to get consensus on political, security policy and economic issues relating to the Sahel region.

Joint press release by the Federal Foreign Office and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development

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