Economic Community of West African States Launches Urgent Appeal For Aid To Africa's Sahel Region

“The Economic Community of West African States [ECOWAS] sent a distress call Tuesday to the international community declaring that more than six million people are at risk of hunger in the Sahel region of Africa, including more than a million children exposed to severe malnutrition,” CNN reports. “The distress call was issued at the end of a two-day, high-level meeting [in Lome, Togo] to address the issue of food security in the region, especially in Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad,” the news service adds.

“As an emergency response to the crisis, the West African community has released a package of $80 million — one tenth of the estimated total need of $800 million,” CNN writes. “Some international organizations have announced fundraising efforts to address the issue, and the United Nations World Food Programme has said it will beef up its response in the area,” the news service notes (Kaglan, 6/6). “The meeting noted that the ECOWAS Commission had already mobilized about $9.5 million and the West African Monetary and Economic Union (UEMOA) Commission $8 million towards mitigating the food deficiency, but insisted that more efforts were required, especially to provide significant financial assistance to three worst affected countries — Mali, Niger and Senegal,” according to an ECOWAS press release (6/6).