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US releases $80 million in humanitarian aid for Sahel 

Aid is intended to address mass displacement throughout West Africa.

The US on Friday announced that it is providing more than $80 million in humanitarian assistance to the Sahel to cope with multiple crises in Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger.

“US humanitarian assistance will provide critical protection, economic opportunity, shelter, essential healthcare, emergency food assistance, safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene services,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.

“This life-saving assistance is critical for the survival of nearly 3 million refugees and internally displaced people and it helps host communities across the Sahel.”

A 2012 uprising in Mali spilt over into neighboring states, creating a breeding ground for religious extremists in places such as Burkina Faso and Niger. The sharp rise in violence, coupled with the effects of climate change in the increasingly arid region, has displaced millions of people throughout West Africa.

This week, a group of armed fighters killed 58 civilians in an attack on a bus and villages in Niger near the border with Mali. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

The Biden administration made its commitment at a Coalition for the Sahel meeting, which included the participation of a group of five Sahel states and international backers led by France.

“The United States is the largest single donor of humanitarian assistance, both in the Sahel region and globally,” said Mr. Price. “The urgent humanitarian needs in the Sahel call for sustained and coordinated donor support to help those in need.”

“The United States government appreciates the contributions made by donors to date and calls on those donors who have not yet stepped up to urgently support the humanitarian response in the Sahel.”

Source : The National News

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