The European Union is pledging $51.5 million to help meet emergency aid and food needs to three countries in Africa’s Sahel region, as the United Nations seeks to raise a billion dollars to tackle the humanitarian crisis there

UNITED NATIONS — The European Union on Tuesday will pledge 43.6 million euros ($51.5 million) to help meet emergency aid and food needs to three countries in Africa’s Sahel region, as the United Nations sought to raise $1 billion to tackle a humanitarian crisis there.

The offer comes as part of a virtual ministerial meeting — hosted by Denmark, Germany, the European Union and the United Nations — aimed at spotlighting one of the world’s fastest growing humanitarian crises in a region plagued by increasing conflict, weak governance, and a lack of development.

“The EU’s pledge consists of 23.6 million euro in funding for humanitarian actions in Burkino Faso, Mali and Niger, and 20 million euro in development funding to address the food crisis afflicting the central Sahel region,” European Commission spokesman Balazs Ujvari said. He said the EU has already “mobilized” 8 billion euros for the region since 2014.

Separately, EU member Belgium pledged 8 million euros, while non-EU country Norway donated 390 million kroner ($42 million).

“Safe and unhindered humanitarian access is absolutely crucial to be able to protect civilians, provide education for children and young people, as well as prevent and deter sexualized and gender-based violence,” said Norwegian Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soereide

The U.N. humanitarian chief told the Associated Press before the meeting that the troubling situation in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger is a symptom of failure to deal with a broad range of political, security and development challenges, as well as rapid population growth and climate change.

Mark Lowcock said the result is that a record 13 million people need humanitarian assistance across the border areas of Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger. He said most of them are children.

source: abcnews.go.com

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