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Nigeria, others to get EU’s €201 million humanitarian aid allocation

The European Commission has announced that the provision of €201 million in EU humanitarian funding will address the needs of the most vulnerable people affected by the humanitarian crisis in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Nigeria.

The announcement comes on the occasion of the Senior Officials Meeting on Sahel and Lake Chad, attended today by Commissioner Janez Lenarčič in Brussels.

The funding will support food security and assistance for malnutrition, health care and protection, water, sanitation and hygiene, shelter and education activities, as well as the transportation of humanitarian workers and supplies to remote and inaccessible locations.

According to Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarčič, the insecurity, violence and over a decade of armed conflict is driving communities in the Sahel and Lake Chad regions to new depths of suffering.

“Today, over 35 million people across these regions are in need of aid, while the humanitarian crisis is now spilling over into West Africa’s coastal countries. At the same time, we are facing an increasingly shrinking response capacity and humanitarian access.

“It is therefore crucial that the international community scales up its efforts to bridge the growing gap between human need and available resources. The EU is doing its part by increasing its pledge for 2024 to over 200 million euros across the two regions. I urge the rest of the international community to play it part,” he noted.

The EU humanitarian aid response will continue to focus on the countries and areas directly affected by ongoing insecurity and conflict, including West Africa’s coastal countries already impacted by the spill-over from Central Sahel.

The overall funding will support humanitarian projects in:- Burkina Faso (€26.9 million);- Cameroon (€21 million);- Chad (€57.9 million, including the newly allocated €8.7 million in response to the consequences of the conflict in Sudan to the neighbouring countries and another €3.1 million to support an EU Humanitarian Air Bridge operation in the East, in addition to the initial €45.3 million announced by Commissioner Lenarčič during his visit to the country at the end of January 2024);- Mali (€24 million);- Mauritania (€5.7 million, including the reinforcement of €3 million allocated in January 2024 in response to the increasing number of Malian refugees in Mauritania);- Niger (€24.6 million);- Nigeria (€31.5 million).

The funding also supports the response to epidemics and population movement, through the allocation of €2.4 million through the Emergency Toolbox, an instrument to assist in sudden-onset crises specifically dedicated to emergency response for vulnerable people outside the EU.

Background

The humanitarian situation faced by the population in the countries of Sahel and Lake Chad regions is alarming. More than 35 million people need humanitarian assistance in 2024 across Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Nigeria. This represents one in five people in the Central Sahel (Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger) countries. Despite this, this crisis remains largely underfunded: in 2023, humanitarian appeals for the three Central Sahel countries received only about one third of funds required.Insecurity and violence are the main causes of the humanitarian crisis, with multiple consequences in terms of protection of the people affected, but also on their food security, on forced displacement, or on the functioning of basic services.

The food and nutrition crisis is one of the major negative consequences of the on-going armed conflicts. In the two regions, more than 46 million people are projected to be in food crisis between June and August 2024.

The worrying trend is both on the scale of the food crisis and on its severity, with a 105% increase of the number of the population falling in food crisis, compared to the average over the last 5 years.

Another worrying dimension of the humanitarian crisis is the number of people forced to flee their place of origin: the countries of Sahel and Lake Chad regions are now hosting more than 10 million internally displaced persons and refugees. The numerous attacks on civilians have led to increased forced displacement and also affects education. By March this year, more than 12 000 schools were closed due to insecurity, affecting more than 2.2 million children.

The delivery of aid and the access to local populations in conflict-affected areas remain limited. Rules imposed by non-state armed groups and by regular armed forces often result in denial of access, restrictions in the movement of civilians, bureaucratic impediments, arbitrary detentions of humanitarian staff, abductions and other forms of retaliation.

The humanitarian community is still present, but the humanitarian assistance provided is not sufficient to cover the needs and the capacity of humanitarian actors to deliver life-saving assistance is in some cases also hindered by national regulations. Needs will have to be addressed by both humanitarian aid and development assistance.

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