By Abimbola Ogunnaike
US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, Friday, 17 March, 2023 announced that the United States is providing nearly $150 million in additional humanitarian assistance for people in West and Central Africa and the Sahel Region.
Blinken disclosed that the USA through the US Agency for International Development (USAID) Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance, is providing nearly $114m in additional life-saving humanitarian assistance for populations in West and Central Africa and the Sahel, and nearly $36m through the State Department Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) to support refugees, asylum-seekers, internally displaced persons, stateless persons, and people affected by conflict.
Through this funding, USAID partners will continue to provide life-saving humanitarian assistance – including food, water, shelter, emergency healthcare, sanitation and hygiene, and critical nutrition services – to the most vulnerable people across the Sahel and West and Central Africa.
The nearly $36m in additional funding from PRM will provide critical relief for thousands of refugees and other persons of concern across the region.
This newly announced assistance comes at a critical time when rapid climate changes – including drought and seasonal flooding – are resulting in widespread humanitarian need.
The United Nations estimates that up to 45 million people could face food shortages during the upcoming lean season in West Africa, which is the period between planting and harvest from May to August when food typically runs out across agricultural communities.
This will worsen an already grave food security crisis for many in rural areas. Several countries in the region have also experienced an ongoing conflict that has killed thousands and resulted in the displacement of millions.
The US government has contributed more than $233m in humanitarian assistance to help the people of West and Central Africa to date in the fiscal year 2023.