U.N. Meeting Delegates Urge International Community To Respond Thoroughly, Rapidly To Drought-Stricken Sahel

“Delegates at a meeting convened by the United Nations to draw up strategies to respond to the humanitarian crisis in West Africa’s drought-prone Sahel region [on Wednesday] called for comprehensive and rapid assistance to the millions of people affected, especially children and women,” the U.N. News Centre reports (2/15). “Heads of U.N. agencies and representatives from governments, the African Union and the Economic Community Of West African States met in Rome to discuss a joint response to the situation in the region,” the Guardian notes (Ford, 2/15). “U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization director Jose Graziano da Silva warned there is ‘little time to act,'” according to VOA’s “Breaking News” blog (2/15).

“After a drought destroyed the majority of the harvest in the region last year, rural populations throughout the Sahel region started to run out of food early this month. The drought is severe and officials have been calling for urgent intervention to prevent a famine,” VOA News writes, noting more than 10 million people in the region will need assistance (Castelfranco, 2/15). “The U.N. believes it will need $725 million this year to address the issues in the Sahel,” but “[s]o far 20 percent has been raised,” the Guardian notes (2/15).

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