BRUSSELS, Feb. 3 (UPI) -- European Commissioner for Crisis Response Kristalina Georgieva says quick action is needed to help millions of people at risk in the Sahel region of Africa.
The European Commission announced Monday it would give more than $190 million in humanitarian assistance to countries in the Sahel region, which stretches west from Mauritania to Eritrea and includes trouble spots like Mali.
"We need to act quickly if we are to get vital aid to the most vulnerable people who continue their struggle to survive as a result of food insecurity, natural disasters and conflict," she said in a statement from Brussels.
Georgieva said nearly 3 million people in the region require some form of food assistance and more than 25 percent of those people are living in northern Mali.
Mali in early 2013 called for military support from former colonial power France to help fight al-Qaida and nomadic rebels who seized control of northern territory following a 2012 coup.
In terms of food security, Georgieva said the situation could become an emergency for countries from Mauritania to Chad.
"The only effective and sustainable way to end the cycle of emergencies in the Sahel and to put a stop to food insecurity and malnutrition for millions of people," she said. "New funds are essential to make this possible."