The rainy season is under way in West Africa and has already caused deadly flooding, but no aid has come in to help the region’s countries, sparking the concern of the United Nations humanitarian arm.
To date, only one third of the $550 million regional appeal, launched six months ago by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), has been financed.
OCHA spokesperson Elisabeth Byrs stressed at a press conference in Geneva today that it is urgent that more funds be made available to help those in need in West Africa.
To respond to the paucity of resources, the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) has earmarked nearly $20 million over the past three months for Niger, the Central African Republic (CAR) and Chad.
Most of those funds went to Niger, which is home to over 7 million hungry people and in the throes of a serious food, nutrition and pastoral crisis.
According to data released by Niger’s Government last month, the global acute malnutrition rate in the country has reached nearly 17 per cent for children under the age of five, which is far above the 15 per cent warning threshold and the 12.3 per cent rate estimated last year.
Since the start of this year, the Fund has allocated more than $40 million to Niger, CAR, Chad, Guinea, Mali and Senegal.
CERF was set up in 2006 to make funding for humanitarian emergencies faster and more equitable. Since then, more than 115 Member States and several private sector donors have contributed nearly $2 billion to the fund, which is managed by OCHA.