Pretoria: The Department of International Relations and Cooperation announced on Friday that the first consignment of humanitarian aid to the countries of the Sahel region will depart by air to Niger on Monday.
This follows South Africa’s commitment to assist four countries suffering from severe climatic conditions in the Sahel Region.
The commitment was made by International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane during the March 2012 meeting of the AU Peace and Security Council, held in Bamako, Mali.
The aid to Niger will take the form of four consignments by air of 100 tonnes of maize power boost and nutrition suitable for children under five years.
“This will be followed by a mixed consignment of maize power boost and a bio-pesticide requested by the Government of Niger to fight food crop infestations, also included will be 12 000 protection kits for use during the application of the bio-pesticides,” the department explained.
Furthermore, a shipment of fertilizer, animal feed and a further amount of maize power boost will follow by sea towards the end of the year.
“Together with the Government of Niger, South Africa will assist in the production of nine million doses of PPR vaccine for inoculating livestock.”
The Sahara Desert takes up much of the land area of the countries of the Sahel. About 80% of the people living in the region are dependent on natural resources for their livelihoods and are regularly affected by droughts, floods and locust swarms.