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Press Releases, 7/3/2012

Finland grants humanitarian assistance for the crisis in the Sahel

Press release 165/2012
3 July 2012

By decision of Minister for International Development Heidi Hautala, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs is directing EUR 1.5 million in emergency assistance to Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Chad, which suffer from the crisis in the Sahel region.

The humanitarian situation in the Sahel region has continued to deteriorate during summer. The Sahel region suffers from chronic malnutrition and the impact of the prolonged drought on agriculture. Famine threatens nearly 19 million people, and assistance is needed especially by more than one million children under 5 years of age, who are at risk of severe malnutrition. In addition, the refugee crisis in Mali, to which Finland responded in May by granting one million euros to UNICEF, the United Nations Children's Fund, has continued to expand. Combat between the Government of Mali and rebel groups has driven more than 340,000 refugees from northern Mali to other areas of Mali and to the neighbouring countries of Niger, Mauritania and Burkina Faso.

In response to the famine of the Sahel region, one million euros is granted to the World Food Programme WFP, whose projects are aimed at saving lives and reducing malnutrition. A large part of the WFP’s emergency relief is targeted at the most vulnerable groups, such as children and refugees.

Most of the inhabitants of the Sahel region depend for their livelihood on agriculture and cattle breeding, and support is also needed for developing the population’s ability to cope in the long term. The objective of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation FAO is to improve household food production capacity and to increase nomads’ awareness of livestock diseases and their treatment. Finland supports the FAO’s activities in the Sahel region by granting 500,000 euros in assistance.

Additional information: First Secretary Anssi Kullberg, mobile tel. +358 400 327 829, and Attaché Janne Heiskanen, mobile tel. +358 40 132 1585

This document

Updated 7/3/2012

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