Ten million people in Sahel still need food assistance, says UN official

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A child waits to collect millet outside the cereal bank in Niger. (Credit:Plan Internacional)

Although a catastrophe was averted in the Sahel last year, ten million people still need food assistance, according to a United Nations official.

David Gressly, the United Nations Regional Coordinator for the Sahel says 2012 was a difficult year because of the drought of 2011 which created food shortages for 18 million people across the region.

Over a million children were severely affected by malnutrition in the Sahel, he adds.

Mr. Gressly tells UN Radio that approximately $1.5 billion was mobilized to respond to the crisis.

"The countries concerned provided very early warning and the major donors also responded in good time which made, I think a fundamental difference. This year what we are facing is a different set of problems. We are still dealing with the aftermath of 2012. Households need to rebuild after the drought. We also have some residual chronic emergency level needs, smaller numbers this year but still important numbers, 18 people last year, versus 10 million. So while there is a reduction there are still some real needs out there." (31")

Mr. Gressly says it is also important to help households build resilience so that they are able to withstand future droughts in the Sahel, the semi-arid region that stretches from Senegal in the West to Sudan in the East.

Gerry Adams, United Nations.

Duration: 1'22"

Filed under Today's News.
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