SA intervenes in Sahel region
Johannesburg - South Africa would give humanitarian assistance to four core countries of the Sahel region, the department of international relations and co-operation said on Wednesday.
Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane made the announcement during the ministerial meeting of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union which took place in Bamako, Mali, on Tuesday.
Nkoana-Mashabane said the four core Sahelian states - Mali, Niger, Mauritania and Chad - approached the South African government for assistance at a bilateral level.
"South Africa has taken heed of the call made by the four core Sahelian countries because of the humanitarian crisis currently confronting this region," department spokesperson Clayson Monyela said in the statement.
The countries also stipulated the areas where they required assistance and immediate humanitarian relief.
He said the council expressed its concern over the humanitarian crisis currently facing countries in the Sahel region as a result of environmental degradation, climate change and food insecurity.
The council called for a more comprehensive and better co-ordinated approach in addressing the situation in the Sahel region in order to assist the countries in implementing national and regional strategies to mitigate the impact of the humanitarian crisis.
As a short-term measure, emergency food and nutritional aid would be directly delivered to these countries as a matter of urgency, Monyela said.
"South Africa is also working out a framework of implementation of further assistance in the medium term."