U.S announces $152m humanitarian response funds to Sahel crisis
By Our reporter
Sept. 25, 2020 - The United States government has announced nearly $152 million in humanitarian assistance to respond to the humanitarian crisis in the Sahel region countries of Niger, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, and Mali.
The U.S at the UN General Assembly High-Level Meeting also announced nearly $108 million in humanitarian assistance for the people South Sudan, including South Sudanese in neighboring countries.
U.S Secretary of States, Michael Pompeo disclosed this in a statement on Friday which was made available on the African Regional Media Hub.
He said the funding includes nearly $67 million from the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration and more than $85 million from U.S. Agency for International Development’s Bureau of Humanitarian Assistance.
Pompeo said that significant gaps in meeting humanitarian needs, in addition to environmental concerns such as major flooding across the region, have been further exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our assistance will provide critical protection, livelihoods, shelter, essential healthcare, emergency food assistance, safe drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene services for refugees, internally displaced people, and vulnerable host communities.
“The United States remains the largest single donor of humanitarian assistance, both in the Sahel region and globally.
“We appreciate contributions from donors to date, but recognize the significant needs that remain and call on current and new donors to make new contributions or to fulfill existing pledges to make this life saving assistance possible.
“Today, at the UN General Assembly High-Level Meeting, “A Dialogue with the World’s Top Ten Donors on Global Humanitarian Needs,” hosted by the United States, we announced nearly $108 million in humanitarian assistance.
“For the people South Sudan, including South Sudanese in neighboring countries.
“This funding includes nearly $97 million from the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration and more than $11 million from the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance.
“It brings the total U.S. humanitarian assistance for the response, including refugees and those affected by conflict and natural disasters, to nearly $907 million in Fiscal Year 2020 alone.
“And nearly $5.5 billion since the start of the crisis in 2014, including more than $64 million in supplemental humanitarian assistance to support the response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the region,” Pompeo said.
Pompeo said that heavy rains, fighting between armed groups, food insecurity, a deteriorating economic situation, and the COVID-19 pandemic have compounded an already dire humanitarian crisis in South Sudan.
He said the U.S. humanitarian assistance provides emergency food assistance, health care services, access to safe drinking water and sanitation, and assistance to survivors of gender-based violence in South Sudan.
According to Pompeo, U.S. humanitarian assistance also provides life-saving activities to the nearly 2.2 million South Sudanese refugees in neighboring countries, most of whom are women and children, and to local host communities sheltering refugees.
He said the United States also provides countrywide support for the UN Humanitarian Air Service to transport humanitarian workers and relief supplies.
The U.S Secretary of State said that in this response to the humanitarian crisis in South Sudan, the United States supports the operations of a network of nearly 30 non-governmental organizations, including faith-based organizations, and international organizations.
He listed some of the organizations supported by the U.S government to include the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the UN Children’s Fund, the World Food Program.
Others are; the International Organization for Migration, and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
Pompeo said the United States remains the largest single donor of humanitarian assistance, both in South Sudan and globally.
“We will continue to be a catalyst for the international response to alleviate the suffering of the people of South Sudan.
“We appreciate contributions from donors to date but recognize the significant needs that remain and call on current and new donors to make new contributions or to fulfill existing pledges to make this life saving,” Pompeo said.