Austria Gives 5.5 Million Euros for Burkina Faso and Mali

PeopleOther ♦ Published: November 23, 2022; 23:09 ♦ (Vindobona)

The Sahel is facing a multitude of crises. In addition to widespread poverty and the worst drought in decades, armed conflicts and terrorist violence are affecting the people of the region. With a total of 5.5 million euros from the Foreign Ministry's Foreign Disaster Fund, the Austrian federal government aims to alleviate the existing suffering in Burkina Faso and Mali.

War, natural disasters, climate change and pandemics are all contributing to the worsening of the global food crisis. / Picture: © Wikimedia Commons /Africa Food Security 3 /Kate Holt/AusAID / CC BY 2.0

West Africa has faced multiple crises for decades. With the outbreak of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and its impact on global food security, the humanitarian situation in the affected regions has further deteriorated. In addition, Austria is supporting the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) in transporting and distributing a 125,000-ton cereal donation from Ukraine to regions in Africa and the Near and Middle East that are currently particularly affected by the crisis.

Millions of people and children are dependent on humanitarian aid. "For the Austrian government, support for the population in the sense of our humanitarian tradition of helping on the ground is out of the question," explained Chancellor Karl Nehammer. One makes available "therefore not only altogether 5.5 million euro from the foreign disaster fund, but support also the world food program of the United Nations with the transport and the distribution in the particularly affected regions," says Chancellor Karl Nehammer.

In Burkina Faso, at least 4.9 million people are dependent on humanitarian aid, including around 2.6 million children. One of the ten poorest countries in the world, it lacks the most basic goods, and people often do not have access to food or adequate health care. More than 1.5 million people are internally displaced as the security situation in the north and east of the country has deteriorated. The security situation is also worsening in southern Mali. Hundreds of thousands are internally displaced. The humanitarian situation is particularly grave for children. Nearly half of the approximately 7.5 million people in need of humanitarian assistance are children.

War, natural disasters, climate change and pandemics are all contributing to the worsening of the global food crisis. The number of people affected by hunger has doubled in the last two years. In East Africa and the Sahel, people are suffering particularly. "In keeping with its humanitarian tradition, Austria is taking part in this extraordinary act of solidarity, which is being set here by Ukraine," explains Vice-Chancellor Werner Kogler.

Of the 5.5 million euros, 1 million euros each will go to the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), as well as 500,000 euros to Austrian non-governmental organizations in Burkina Faso. A further 2 million euros will go to the United Nations Children's Fund for Mali. To alleviate the global food crisis, Ukraine donates 125,000 tons of grain to the WFP. Austria is providing 1 million euros to the WFP for the transport of this donation to bring this grain to those particularly affected by the food crisis in African countries, Yemen, Syria and Afghanistan.

"The Sahel has already been hit by a tsunami of crises, including droughts of unprecedented proportions, the pandemic and terrorism. Global food insecurity, exacerbated by Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine, has further exacerbated the humanitarian situation. By providing aid on the ground, Austria is making an effective contribution to combating the humanitarian crises in Burkina Faso, Mali and other regions mainly affected by the acute crisis," concluded Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg.