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Seven Sahel Region Nations Declare Emergencies With At Least 12M People Threatened By Hunger

“Seven out of the eight governments in [Africa’s] Sahel … have taken the unprecedented step of declaring emergencies as 12 million people in the region are threatened by hunger,” Inter Press Service reports. “Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Cameroon and Nigeria have all called for international assistance to prevent yet another hunger crisis on the continent,” the news service writes, noting that Senegal “has refrained from announcing an emergency, largely for political reasons,” as it is holding presidential elections later this year (Palitza, 4/15).

The U.N. and international aid agencies are warning more than 20 million people could be affected by drought and food shortages in the region, VOA News reports, adding that the U.N. “notes aid agencies have received only $135 million of the $720 million needed to fund humanitarian operations in six countries of the Sahel” (Schlein, 2/14). On Thursday, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos and U.N. Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Helen Clark will begin a two-day fact-finding trip to Niger, where they will meet with government officials “to highlight the importance of preparations and early action to tackle the food and nutrition crisis,” the U.N. News Centre writes (2/14). In a separate article, the U.N. News Centre reports on a new partnership between the U.N. and the African Centre of Meteorological Applications for Development that “will ensure the rapid dissemination of weather updates from African meteorological experts to disaster managers in vulnerable communities” (2/14).