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West Africa: Food for families hit by hunger crisis

UK aid will provide emergency food, medical supplies and water for thousands of children caught up in the Sahel hunger crisis

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

British aid will provide emergency food, medical supplies and water for thousands of children caught up in the West Africa hunger crisis, International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell announced today.

Mr Mitchell warned that thousands of families could face even worse suffering if the international response to the warnings on the Sahel remains inadequate.

The UK will target support for 22,000 people across Mali and Niger with food, seeds, tools and livestock - including those who have fled their homes in conflict-affected areas.

A further 60,000 people facing hunger in other parts of Mali and Niger will be fed for the next six months through funding to the World Food Programme.

Britain will also fund Save the Children to provide essential nutrition supplies, such as PlumpyNut, to 33,000 children and adults as well as hygiene kits with soap, water containers and disinfectant to help stop the spread of disease.

The crisis in the Sahel region of West Africa is deepening with aid agencies warning that up to 15.5 million people are at risk of which 8 million are in need of urgent assistance as conflict and poor harvests combine to push many families to the brink.

Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell said:

Britain is helping thousands of children caught up in the terrible crisis in the Sahel by providing food and water for them and tools and vaccinations of livestock and cattle to protect their parents’ livelihoods.

We are playing our part but the people of the Sahel need other countries to step up in the same way Britain did in East Africa. We simply cannot afford a sluggish response. It is vital to take action at an early stage to prevent thousands of people facing even more intense suffering.

More than 100,000 people will benefit from this latest British support in the region, bringing food, clean water and vaccinations to people living in very difficult circumstances.

In January, Britain announced aid and support for some 250,000 of the most vulnerable people affected by this crisis, including treatment for 83,000 severely malnourished children in Niger, Chad and Mali.

Since then the situation in Niger, Mali and Chad has deteriorated further, made worse by pockets of conflict which forced people to flee their homes.

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Published 14 March 2012