Children gather in a classroom in the village of Dori, Burkina Faso. School children in this region practice safety drills to prepare for potential attacks. (AP)

Children gather in a classroom in the village of Dori, Burkina Faso. School children in this region practice safety drills to prepare for potential attacks. (AP)

The Sahel region is like a belt that wraps across Africa.

The Sahel region is like a belt that wraps across Africa.

Two women with children sit outside a clinic on the outskirts of Burkina Faso’s capital, Ouagadougou. They sometimes wait up to four hours for medical help. (AP)

Two women with children sit outside a clinic on the outskirts of Burkina Faso’s capital, Ouagadougou. They sometimes wait up to four hours for medical help. (AP)

Malians supporting the overthrow of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita in August 2020 gather to celebrate in Bamako, Mali. (AP)

Malians supporting the overthrow of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita in August 2020 gather to celebrate in Bamako, Mali. (AP)

Migrants head towards Libya from Agadez, Niger. (AP)

Migrants head towards Libya from Agadez, Niger. (AP)

Here Comes Help

Posted: January 1, 2021

“The central Sahel region is at a breaking point,” says United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. But help is on the way. Money is coming from people around the world. They see that the region in Africa is hurting. Thankfully, 20-plus donors have offered to give more than $1 billion of aid.  

The funds will help 10 million people in three countries in the Sahel (pronounced SUH-HEL) region. The aid is for Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger. These countries are in crisis. People there are hurting. Their lives are at risk. They are desperate for food, healthcare, and water. They also need sanitation (cleanliness) services, shelter, education, and protection from violence.

The United Nations is a council that addresses needs in countries around the world. It was formed in order to help create a safer and more peaceful world. United Nations humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock says that “nowhere in the world worries me as much as the Sahel.” He says that the needs in those countries could spill over into neighboring countries. Mr. Lowcock wants people to know that more than 13 million people in Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger need emergency assistance to survive.

What went wrong in these countries? The population grew very quickly. The countries didn’t have many good schools. Jobs were hard to find. Leaders didn’t lead well. People were not safe. Food became scarce. People began to rebel. They wanted more than they had.

Violence and poverty go hand in hand. Famine hit the Sahel. People are starving. Sometimes hungry people steal. Sometimes they fight to stay alive. Many places in Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger are not safe.

The most vulnerable people in this area are women and children. They need to be protected and cared for.

Who is responsible for the hard-hit Sahel region? Officials in these countries aren’t taking good care of their people. Leaders outside the region think it is time to step in. The United Nations wants to get the word out: The Sahel region is struggling. Money collected by the United Nations will help provide basics such as clean water, food, education, and health care.

  Give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, lest I be full and deny you and say, “Who is the Lord?” or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God. — Proverbs 30:8-9