Federal Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle and Federal Development Minister Dirk Niebel have jointly decided to make available another 15 million euros for those affected by the continuing drought in the Sahel. The additional funds will go to projects involving food aid (3 million euros), humanitarian assistance for refugees and the internally displaced (2.5 million euros) as well as development-oriented transitional aid (9.5 million euros).
Speaking today (10 May) in Berlin, Federal Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle made the following statement:
The humanitarian situation in large areas of the Sahel is extremely shocking. The effects of the continuing drought are made worse by political events such as the coup and violence in Mali, the malicious actions of radical groups, and the return of former guest workers from North Africa. The international community is called upon to help. Germany is living up to its humanitarian responsibilities.
Development Minister Niebel said:
Germany is the third largest bilateral donor to the Sahel. We must do everything we can to prevent the drought catastrophe from becoming a hunger catastrophe. In addition to acute emergency aid, we are supporting the countries in improving their long-term capacity to deal with drought. We are expanding food reserves, restoring soil fertility, and supporting small farmers with know-how.
The decision follows the recommendations of the United Nations as well as the fact-finding mission commissioned by the Federal Government and carried out at the beginning of April. They had ascertained that continued support was necessary and underlined the importance of strengthening the self-help capacity in the region. The combination of humanitarian emergency aid and long-term transitional aid takes this into account.
The aid is implemented by the UN World Food Programme, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and internationally experienced German non-governmental organizations such as Welthungerhilfe, CARE, and HELP.
Currently, around 15 million people are affected by food shortages. The situation is further exacerbated by the effects of the conflict in northern Mali: according to the UN, almost 300,000 people have fled the conflict both to other parts of the country and to neighbouring countries.
The Federal Government reacted quickly to the crisis and has made over 22 million euros available since December 2011, especially for preventative measures. The new support pledged brings the total for the Sahel to more than 37 million euros.
In the Sahel crisis, Germany is the UN World Food Programme’s third largest bilateral donor behind the United States and Canada. The region suffers from regular periods of drought. Acute causes overlap with structural problems: even when harvests are good, the resilience of the population and the production and supply systems is low. Every additional external shock leads immediately to soaring malnourishment.
The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development provides information at its website: www.bmz.de
Joint Press Statement by the Federal Foreign Office and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development