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Head of UN food aid agency urges support for Mali and entire Sahel region

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The international community must continue its efforts to help feed people in the Sahel, the head of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said today, following a visit to the West African region marred by high levels of food and nutrition insecurity, as well as the effects of the conflict in Mali. “The Sahel is facing a double threat: instability, caused by a conflict that has sent refugees across its borders, and chronic hunger, caused by cycles of drought and poor harvests. Last year the international community helped avert a crisis in the Sahel, but our work is not over,” WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin said in a news release. She spent five days in Burkina Faso and Mali, which along with Cameroon, Chad, the Gambia, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal, comprise the Sahel. Last year the international community provided $1.2 billion in assistance to feed around 10 million people in the region. (..) Meanwhile, in New York, the Security Council was briefed today in a closed-door session on Mali and the wider Sahel region by Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos.